The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

December 5, 2013

News briefs from Dec. 5, 2013


Herald staff

- — Court backs prison term for probation violation

FARRELL – A former Farrell man was properly sentenced to state prison for absconding probation on a charge he initially was put on probation for, an appellate court said recently.

Gregory C. Cupic, 44, pleaded guilty Jan. 9, 2001, to a charge of criminal trespass filed by Southwest Mercer County Regional police.

He was put on 18 months’ probation, but it was extended and the terms changed when he twice violated it.

He absconded to Florida and an arrest warrant was issued in 2004.

Cupic was convicted in Florida of sexually assaulting a child younger than 13, and served 10 years in prison.

After his release, he was brought back to Pennsylvania on the warrant, and his probation was revoked for absconding and the new criminal conviction. Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas R. Dobson sentenced Cupic in April to 2 to 5 years in prison.

Cupic appealed, arguing the sentence was excessively long and not tailored to the nature of the offense or his rehabilitative needs.

A three-judge panel of Superior Court said Nov. 27 that Cupic’s motion fails on a technical matter – he did not make his arguments about the sentence at the sentence hearing or in a timely filed post-sentence motion.

Cupic filed a post-sentence motion 18 days after sentencing, eight days outside his window of opportunity, the court said.

School eyes bargaining with support personnel

HERMITAGE – With Hermitage School District’s support personnel contract ending June 30, it’s time for school and union officials to start thinking about a new pact.

Hermitage school Superintendent Dr. Daniel Bell said he will meet with a representative of the Hermitage Educational Support Personnel Association on Jan. 7 to set a framework for negotiations.

“This is just an informal meeting to set up a meeting,” he said.

The union approved a 5-year contract in 2007 that set wage hikes of 3.25 percent for the first four years and 3.4 percent for the final year.

The contract, like those with teachers and administrators, was extended a year for a one-year wage freeze for the 2011-12 school year.

HESPA, which includes maintenance and cafeteria workers, aides and secretaries, has roughly 100 members.

The teacher’s union contract ends June 20, 2015.

Two establishments cited for liquor violations

MERCER COUNTY – Two local establishments have been cited for liquor code violations.

State police said Carini Restaurant, 210-212 Main St., Greenville, has been cited for selling alcohol after its restaurant liquor license expired between Aug. 27 and 31 and Sept. 3 and 7. The license expired July 31, police said.

The Clark House, 3590 Valley View Road, Clark, has been cited for failing to clean its dispensing system at least once a week between Feb. 14 and Aug. 27, police said.

Girl admits conspiracy in service station robbery

STONEBORO – A Fairview Township girl pleaded guilty Nov. 15 to a charge of conspiracy to commit robbery for the Dec. 1, 2012, stickup of a Stoneboro gas station.

Jenna M. Wygant, 16, of 99 Fredonia Hadley Road, could be sentenced to up to 10 to 20 years for the first-degree felony, although such a stiff penalty seems unlikely. Her co-defendant, Shantasia M. Kirchell, 20, formerly of Sandy Lake, was sentenced in September to 3 to 10 years for robbery.

According to state police, Kirchell, wearing a mask and gloves, used a handgun to rob Dye’s Service Station, 2295 Mercer St., of $180.

Wygant got the gun from a relative and drove Kirchell to the scene, police said. Wygant wore a “disguise,” police said, and she and Kirchell burned their clothes in a wood burner at the girl’s home, police said.

Police recovered a firearm from the girl’s car, police said.

The money was believed to have been used to buy crack cocaine, police said, and Kirchell admitted to a drug problem at her sentence hearing.

Elderly sex offender will serve up to 10 years

GREENE TOWNSHIP – A Greene Township man was sentenced Nov. 21 to 5 to 10 years in prison on a charge of aggravated indecent assault.

Blaise P. Tunstall, 68, of 12 Tower Road, pleaded guilty to the charge in July, and prosecutors and Tunstall’s attorney agreed to the sentence as part of his plea.

Tunstall will need to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

The girl, who was 15 when state police filed charges in January, said Tunstall molested her from 2004, when she was 7, through the summer of 2012 at his home and other nearby locations, police said.

Brothers stole copper, police charge

SOUTH PYMATUNING TOWNSHIP – Brothers were arrested after police said they stole copper from the railroad bed area near Thomason Road on Nov. 23.

Corey W. McFarland, 31, and Justin R. McFarland, 29, both of 37 Charles St., Clark, were caught walking to a relative’s house with Corey McFarland’s 13-year-old son at 12:20 a.m. with copper wire and tools, police said.

The brothers told police they cut and bundled the wire from the area of track off Thomason Road, police said. They were  found with tools to cut the wire, duct tape for bundling and a flashlight, police said.

Both were charged with theft by unlawful taking, conspiracy, possessing instruments of crime and corruption of a minor.

Corey McFarland also was charged with giving a false identification to police, which he said he did because he had an outstanding warrant and did not want to be arrested and handcuffed in front of his son, police said.