The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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May 27, 2014

Cyclist gets lesser sentence in fatal crash

WEST SALEM TOWNSHIP — A local judge recently resentenced a man who admitted leaving the scene of a double-fatal accident. The new sentence is slightly less than the original set a year ago.

A three-judge panel of state Superior Court in March said the sentence that Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas R. Dobson had imposed on Joseph L. Diefenderfer was illegal because Dobson used an incorrect grading of the charges.

Dobson earlier this month sentenced Diefenderfer, 24, formerly of Fredonia, to 3 to 11 years in prison on two counts of accident involving death, based on the grading of the charges as third-degree felonies. In May 2013, Dobson had sentenced him to 3è to 14 years based on the charges being second-degree felonies.

Diefenderfer appealed the first sentence and Superior Court vacated it and sent the case back to Dobson for a new sentence.

Diefenderfer left the scene of a motorcycle accident April 21, 2012, at which his friends, Benjamin Alabran, 25, and Cassandra Keck, 21, both of Greenville, were killed.

The trio had been drinking at a Greenville bar and were heading to a West Salem Township club – Keck was on Alabran’s bike while Diefenderfer drove alone – when the crash occurred at 2:45 a.m. on state Route 18 at South Good Hope Road in West Salem Township.

Diefenderfer said he looked for his friends but couldn’t find them in the dark and didn’t know where he was.

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