The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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November 8, 2013

Basilone son, called ‘way out of hand,’ sentenced to jail

MERCER — For the next month or so, Devine A. Campbell, one of the men accused in the murder of William Basilone, and Westley W. Basilone, Basilone’s son, will be fellow inmates at the Mercer County Jail.

Westley Basilone seemed stunned that he was sentenced to jail for 1 to 15 months Thursday despite what he called a “mutual confrontation” that “got out of hand” with his ex-girlfriend, who was not charged with any crimes.

“Way out of hand,” said Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas R. Dobson, who said that Basilone’s crimes were worthy of a state prison sentence.

The plea deal approved by the victim was the only reason Basilone will get to stay in Mercer County Jail, and get to keep his job through work release, Dobson said.

“You crossed a line that cannot be crossed,” the judge said.

Basilone, 35, of 1699 Maple Drive, Hermitage, pleaded guilty Aug. 12 to Hermitage police charges of terroristic threats, simple assault and reckless endangerment.

The incident occurred Sept. 21, 2012, at the woman’s home. While Basilone supporters have claimed the police account does not tell the whole story, police and the victim who testified at Basilone’s preliminary hearing clearly paint him as the aggressor during a four-hour ordeal. He is alleged to have shoved her against a wall, poked her eyes, slammed her head on the floor hard enough to chip her tooth, tried to suffocate her with a pillow, threatened to rape and kill her, punched her, and held his hand over her mouth and nose long enough for her to momentarily go unconscious.

The victim fled to a neighbor’s after Basilone apparently passed out from alcohol, police said. She was taken to a hospital for treatment, and that was where police initially were called from.

Dobson noted that Basilone choked the woman hard enough to leave finger marks on her throat.

The victim told Dobson the episode was a “life-threatening experience,” one which brought on post-traumatic stress disorder.

She said she knew the relationship was deteriorating past the point of being healthy, but she stayed with him because she loved and cared for him.

“No one who comes out of an abusive relationship can say they left soon enough,” she said.

She said she fears for herself and her family every day.

“I can assure her he has no interest in any contact (with the victim),” defense attorney Randall T. Hetrick said. “He’s not a danger to her.”

Basilone agreed and said he has had no dealings with her since that night in question.

Hetrick said Basilone’s case is unique because “you can look at the case and see what happened,” meaning it was a direct result of his father’s death.

“He was very close to his father,” Hetrick said. “That has been very difficult for him to deal with, adjust to.”

It hasn’t helped that the cases against the men accused of killing William Basilone, Campbell and Joshua L. Stewart, who was convicted earlier this year and sentenced to life in prison, have dragged out for two years.

“He can’t get closure until these cases are over,” Hetrick said. “He basically revisits these cases every single day.”

William Basilone was gunned down Dec. 20. 2011, outside his Farrell bar. His son and the victim began their relationship sometime after the murder.

Stewart is in Allegheny County Jail under a federal detainer.

Westley Basilone has sought mental health treatment, Hetrick said. He goes to counseling and takes medication, and Hetrick said he has noticed that the treatment has helped.

Basilone also works full-time at a local tube mill as well as running the bar he inherited from his father.

Dobson said he understands what Basilone has gone through, how “devastating” the murder of a parent is, and how he had to “become” his father by taking over the bar.

Dobson sentenced Basilone to serve 18 months’ probation once he is off parole, and gave him credit for 5 days he has already served in jail.

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