The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

September 6, 2013

Judge advises woman to give up men

By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

---- — Judges don’t typically give dating advice but Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas R. Dobson told Candyce M. Pratt Wednesday that she should give up men until her kids are grown.

Pratt’s choices in men have been “crappy,” Dobson said.

Pratt has a temporary protection abuse order against her last boyfriend, Joshua E. Beilstein, 28, of 2490 South Hermitage Road, Hermitage, who has been charged by Hermitage police with simple assault and reckless endangerment for driving off as she was attempting to get out a car, causing her to fall to the ground, on Aug. 1.

Her husband, Emile R. Pratt Jr., 31, of Hermitage, is a codefendant in the two criminal cases that landed Candyce Pratt before Dobson.

A third codefendant in one of the cases, Tracy L. Hassel, 32, was supposed to be sentenced Wednesday on three counts of burglary and one count of conspiracy to commit robbery, but didn’t show up.

“She’s going to spend a long time in the penitentiary,” Dobson said of Hassel, who recently was charged by Hermitage police in three cases with retail theft.

Candyce Pratt is not going to the penitentiary, but she will be supervised for two years, the first three months on house arrest.

Pratt pleaded guilty June 10 to a charge of receiving stolen property for her role in the Aug. 31, 2011, break-in and theft of jewelry at the Gold Mind, 122 E. State St., Sharon; and to conspiracy to commit robbery for the Aug. 1, 2012, aborted robbery of an elderly woman in the 100 block of Jackson Road, Shenango Township.

Assistant District Attorney Daniel Davis said the presentence investigation report, which outlines the offenses, Pratt’s background and her criminal history, left him shaking his head.

Pratt had no prior criminal record and “jumped right into a robbery,” Davis said.

Dobson admitted, “I don’t understand these cases.”

Pratt said she and her husband - the father of one of her three children and from whom she plans to seek a divorce - got addicted to drugs.

“Going to jail kind of saved my life,” she said. “Going to jail was my wakeup call.”

Pratt’s mother, Lisa J. Carroll, said Pratt reacted badly to the suicide of her father and death shortly afterward of her sister.

“When I met her she was a mess,” said stepfather James Carroll, speaking of a time three years ago. “We’ve moved through that.”

Pratt said she attends counseling and Narcotics Anonymous, and has enrolled in the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Her parents said she is doing a good job raising her kids.

Defense attorney Stephen Delpero asked for probation, noting Pratt was not present at the Gold Mind break-in, and that her role on the Shenango robbery was to be that of lookout.

“This isn’t a probation case,” Dobson said, focusing on the aborted robbery. “If you had gone through with this, she (victim) would have had a chance of dying.”

Dobson sentenced Pratt to 3 to 18 months in jail - with house arrest eligibility - followed by 6 months’ probation. She must perform 100 hours’ community service, pay $21,500 restitution - jointly with her husband and Hassel - and not withdraw her PFA petition against Beilstein.