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2024 Nanticoke PD News

5/17/2024
Nanticoke man charged with threatening to kill the President
Times Leader

SCRANTON — A man from Nanticoke was indicted by a federal grand jury on allegations he threatened to kill President Joe Biden and members of the Cabinet.
Jordan Gee, 37, of West Ridge Street, posted several videos on the internet shortly before President Biden’s visit to Scranton on April 16, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Gerard M. Karam.
In those videos, Gee made several threats to the President and others, including, “Joe Biden: I’m going to kill you and your whole cabinet,” and “If you come to my city in Scranton, Pennsylvania, I’m cutting your (expletive) head off in front of everybody; I promise,” the news release says.
Gee is jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility.
In an unrelated case, Gee is facing charges of retail theft and resisting arrest filed by Nanticoke police due to an incident at a coffee shop on North Market Street on April 15.
Police in Nanticoke in court records say Gee stole a bag of coffee and struggled with officers when he was arrested.

 

5/17/2024
Nanticoke man charged with threatening to behead Biden
James Halpin – Citizens Voice


A Nanticoke man has been charged with threatening to behead President Joe Biden and to kill members of his cabinet, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Jordan Gee, 37, has been indicted on federal charges of making threats against the president and making interstate communications involving a threat.
Prosecutors said Gee posted several threatening videos online prior to Biden’s visit to his hometown of Scranton last month.
“Joe Biden: I’m going to kill you and your whole cabinet,” prosecutors quoted Gee as saying. “If you come to my city in Scranton, Pennsylvania, I’m cutting your (expletive) head off in front of everybody; I promise.”
The U.S. Secret Service investigated the case.
If convicted, Gee faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

 

5/3/2024

Nanticoke man gets up to 11 years for sex assaults
James Halpin – Citizens Voice
 
A Nanticoke man convicted of sexually assaulting a girl in Conyngham Twp. was sentenced Thursday to serve up to 11 years in state prison.
Joseph Paul Banesh, 28, previously pleaded guilty to charges of statutory sexual assault, sexual assault, corruption of a minor and simple assault.
Luzerne County Judge Joseph F. Sklarosky Jr. imposed the sentence Thursday, ordering Banesh to serve a total of four to 11 years in prison for the offenses.
Prosecutors said Banesh sexually assaulted the girl twice in April 2023 at a home on Cemetery Road, Conyngham Twp. Banesh also took nude photos of the victim, struck her and tried to smother her with a pillow, prosecutors said.
Banesh told investigators that the encounters had been consensual “most of the time” but said he was unable to remember them because he had blacked out.
As part of his sentence, Banesh was barred from having any contact with the girl. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender for life.
 

4/30/2024
Nanticoke man stabbed in chest during tool dispute
James Halpin – Citizens Voice
 
A Nanticoke man was stabbed in the chest and on the hand during a dispute over stolen tools that broke out in Nanticoke earlier this month, police said.
Nathaniel Robert Moore, 38, of 710 S. Hanover St., was arraigned Monday on aggravated assault charges alleging he stabbed Kevin Allabaugh during a dispute at 221 Christian St. on the night of April 9.
According to the complaint, the dispute began when Allabaugh’s cousin and Moore, her boyfriend, went over Allabaugh’s house to use his computer and file her taxes. After going into the basement with Moore, Allabaugh later noticed some tools missing, including a folding knife and drill bits, police said.
When Moore and Allabaugh’s cousin came back the next day, Allabaugh confronted them and asked if Moore had taken the tools, police said.
Moore then grew combative: “I will kill you! I didn’t steal (expletive),” the complaint quotes him as saying before he jumped out of the car.
Moore advanced aggressively on Allabaugh, who raised his hands in self-defense, prompting Moore to pull out a knife, police said.
Allabaugh ripped a mailbox off the house to use as a shield and sustained a 10-centimeter cut on his chest while waving it in an effort to block the knife, police said.
Allabaugh was also cut on the right palm while trying to defend himself, police said. As he backed away from Moore’s advance, Allabaugh broke through an iron rail and fell off a porch onto a sidewalk about five feet below.
Moore then ran back to the vehicle and Allabaugh’s cousin sped off despite him pleading for her to stop, police said.
Allbaugh was taken to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Twp., where his cuts were sutured and stapled closed.
Police charged Moore with aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment.
Magisterial District Judge Michael G. Dotzel arraigned him on the charges Monday morning and set bail at $100,000.
Moore was being held at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility with a preliminary hearing scheduled for May 8.

4/12/2024
Nanticoke man gets jail for threatening judge, CO
James Halpin – Citizens Voice
 
Appearing calm and respectful in court on Friday morning, a Nanticoke man who admitted threatening the lives of a county judge and a correctional officer during a rage-fueled tirade last year was sentenced to serve up to a year in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility.
Jacob Ryan Cartwright, 33, stood shackled in court as he offered his "sincerest apologies" for threatening to kill Judge Richard M. Hughes III and Correctional Officer Kristopher Renfer.
"I'm truly sorry for my actions," Cartwright said. "I acted carelessly; however I had no intention of hurting anyone."
Senior Judge Thomas J. Munley, brought in from Lackawanna County because of Cartwright's threats against the Luzerne County judiciary, expressed shock at the defendant's actions.
"For the life of me, I can't get over how you could do this to a judge," Munley said prior to imposing a total sentence of six to 12 months in jail for Cartwright's two terroristic threats convictions.
"Yes, sir," Cartwright said. "I take full responsibility."
Cartwright was initially charged with 21 offenses alleging he threatened and cursed at not only Hughes and Renfer, but also judges Stefanie Salavantis and Tarah Toohil as well as assistant district attorneys Maria McCuskey and Benjamin Green.
The charges alleged that Cartwright began his outburst while Hughes was sentencing him on Oct. 25 for violating a protection-from-abuse order. Cartwright, who had been using his cellphone while the judge spoke to him, became aggressive and warned that Hughes had "made a mistake" in finding him guilty of the violation, prosecutors said.
Cartwright began cursing, threatening to spit in Hughes' face, and then turned his attention to Salavantis and Toohil.
“It’s done when I get out. It’s over," prosecutors alleged.
Cartwright began cursing out the prosecutors and, after arriving at the county jail, threatened to make Renfer watch his daughter being murdered before Cartwright in turn killed the correctional officer, according to the charges.
Cartwright's ex-girlfriend, who filed the restraining order that resulted the initial violation, told the court he has a long history of violence stemming from untreated mental health problems.
"Jacob chose violence each and every time," she said. "He feels he is untouchable instead of being an adult and taking responsibility for his behavior."
Deputy Attorney General Rachael Coleman requested a high-end sentence, noting that Cartwright's "disturbing" comments in Hughes' courtroom were only the latest outburst by a man who has been the target of 13 protection-from-abuse petitions from multiple victims, featuring multiple violations.
"The defendant has a long history of violent behavior," Coleman said.
Munley, meanwhile, appeared shocked after hearing those statistics.
"I've never heard of that in my life," he said of the 13 restraining orders.
Defense attorney Cheryl Sobeski-Reedy sought a reduced sentence, blaming Cartwright's conduct on untreated mental health concerns.
"He was obviously very upset — not taking his medication that day," she said.
Describing Cartwright's conduct as "very serious," Munley imposed a sentence of six to 12 months in the county jail on the two misdemeanor counts of making terroristic threats.
As part of his sentence, Cartwright will be required to attend anger management therapy and to undergo drug and alcohol testing.
He was also ordered to have no contact with any of the victims or witnesses in the case.

 

4/8/2024
Nanticoke man pleads guilty to DUI fatal crash

WILKES-BARRE — A Nanticoke man pled guilty in Luzerne County Court to being intoxicated when he crashed his vehicle that killed his friend and injured a woman more than two years ago.
Police in Nanticoke charged James Edward Gordon, 43, of Garfield Street, when he crashed his Chevrolet Tahoe down an embankment at Field and College streets on Dec. 23, 2021, according to court records.
Richard C. Gimbi Sr., 65, of Mountain Top, a rear seat passenger in the Chevrolet, died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township on Dec. 27, 2021.
Another passenger, Terra Hill, sustained injuries to her head and suffered a broken left leg in two places.
Gordon initially said a deer ran out in front of them causing him to swerve but later admitted he had been drinking alcohol for most of the day, court records say.
Police in court records say Gordon had a blood alcohol level of .209 percent after the crash.
Gordon pled guilty to homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence of alcohol, aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI and driving under the influence before President Judge Michael T. Vough.
Vough revoked Gordon’s bail resulting in being jailed at the county correctional facility to await sentencing scheduled on June 6.

 

4/2/2024
Nanticoke man allegedly injured state trooper after DUI arrest
Steve Mocarsky – Citizens Voice


A Nanticoke man faces assault and other charges after he allegedly injured two state trooper following his DUI arrest.
Andres O. Jones, 29, of 202½ Phillip St., is charged with a felony count of aggravated assault and misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest and criminal mischief, according to court papers.
According to a criminal complaint:
Cpl. Charles J. Molecavage, Pennsylvania State Police Troop P Wilkes-Barre Criminal Investigation Unit, was dispatched for PSP Wilkes-Barre at 4:20 a.m. Saturday and interviewed troopers Tyler Cawley and Robert Phillips.
Cawley told Molecavage he was escorting Jones from the sallyport inside the state police barracks for processing of a DUI arrest when Jones became defiant, threw himself to the floor and refused to comply with orders.
Jones was kicking and fighting with troopers as they attempted to escort him into the building and tried to head-butt Cawley, according to a criminal complaint.
Cawley told Molecavage he was dazed and disoriented when Jones kicked him in the head, and he suffered a sore face in the eye area and a bloody nose, and Molecavage observed blood on the floor and tissues in the garbage containing blood from Cawley.
Phillips told Molecavage that while they were transporting Jones to the state police barracks from a traffic stop on Exit 1 of the North Cross Valley Expressway with Jones in the back seat, Jones “began kicking his seat and his person and the shotgun rack in the car.”
Cawley stopped the car and the troopers “regained control” of Jones and continued the transport.
Phillips related that his shoulder, head and back were sore from the incident and noted that the shotgun rack sustained some damage.
Jones allegedly told Molecavage in an interview that he didn’t know why he was arrested and that he was thrown into the cruiser and driven around for hours.
“The handcuffs were hurting his wrists and all he wanted is for them to loosen the cuffs. He related he didn’t do anything intentional, that he can’t help what his legs do when he is handcuffed and being dragged around,” Molecavage said Jones told him.
Jones was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Carol Davenport and, unable to post $75,000 bail, was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility to await a preliminary hearing scheduled for 10:15 a.m. May 8 before Magisterial District Judge Thomas Malloy.

 

3/22/2024
‘I’m sorry, I can’t forgive you,’ sister says during sentencing hearing for Nanticoke fatal shooting
elewis@timesleader.com


WILKES-BARRE — A Plymouth man admitted he fatally shot his one time best friend in a feud over a woman more than a year ago.
James Scott Miller, 33, of Smith Row, was charged by the Pennsylvania State Police at Wilkes-Barre for shooting Brian Edwards, 37, on Jifkin Street in Nanticoke on Feb. 25, 2023.
Investigators in court records say the two men were in a feud over a woman.
“I’m sorry to Brian’s family for all the pain and suffering I caused,” Miller said during an emotional sentencing hearing before Luzerne County President Judge Michael T. Vough on Friday.
“We were both in a bad place in both of our lives,” Miller said.
Miller pled guilty to third-degree murder and was immediately sentenced by Vough to 15 to 30 years in state prison. The plea agreement was announced by Deputy District Attorney Dan Zola who, along with Assistant District Attorney Anthony Cardone, prosecuted.
“We were best friends to the worst of enemies,” Miller said. “I know there is no way to make things right. I’m trying to do the right thing. Brian was a good guy.”
Miller’s attorney, Frank T. McCabe II, said drug use “mixed with (Miller’s) mind,” noting Miller and Edwards were best friends as their relationship, “went south.”
“The gravity of what he had done has never been lost,” McCabe said of Miller.
Edwards’ sister, Kelly Gower, said the loss of her brother has been, “an emotional roller coaster” every day since he was killed. “He was a kind person. Think about what you have done to my family and your own family. I’m sorry, I can’t forgive you.”
Edwards’ girlfriend of 19 years, Jocelyn Thomas, tearfully read victim impact statements from their three children calling the death of Edwards, a “senseless murder” that will forever impact their lives.
Edwards was shot while he was inside his Ford pickup truck while driving on Jifkin Street where Miller was visiting a friend.
Investigators say they recovered six .40-caliber shell casings and two spent .40-rounds, one from the driver’s seat of the Ford and another during Edwards’ autopsy.
Neighbors in the area told investigators they heard five to seven shots and a man having trouble starting a motorcycle before speeding away, court records say.
Investigators found Miller’s backpack inside the friend’s residence that had an empty holster, Miller’s wallet and birth certificate and a box of .40-caliber full metal jacket ammunition containing 29 rounds with 21 rounds missing.
A friend to both Miller and Edwards told investigators, court records say, the two men did not get along and had a feud over Miller’s girlfriend, who suggested Edwards was in a relationship with the same woman.

 

3/19/2024
Man charged with fleeing police in Nanticoke
James Halpin – Times Leader 


A White Haven man is facing drug and fleeing charges after leading police on a brief pursuit in Nanticoke, police said.
Joseph Swartwood, 50, was arrested after failing to stop a black Harley-Davidson motorcycle that an officer observed committing several traffic violations on Thursday, police said.
Swartwood led police on a brief chase before abandoning the motorcycle and running into some woods along Front Street, police said.
Swartwood was captured after a foot chase and found in possession of methamphetamine and marijuana, police said.
He is charged with fleeing police, drug possession, possessing drug paraphernalia, possessing marijuana, reckless driving, speeding, failing to stop at a stop sign and failing to stop for a red light.
Magisterial District Judge James M. Dixon arraigned Swartwood on the charges and set bail at $10,000.
Swartwood was being held at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility with a preliminary hearing scheduled for March 27.

 

3/19/2024
Nanticoke man charged with pulling gun during argument 

James Halpin - Times Leader


A Nanticoke man will face assault charges after pointing a handgun at another person during an argument, police said.
Leland E. Crane, 67, was arrested Friday after police responded to a home on Garfield Street for a report of a domestic violence assault.
Police say Crane pointed a 9mm pistol at another person during an argument.
The handgun accidentally discharged into a wall when another resident of the home attempted to unload it, police said.
Police charged Crane with reckless endangerment, simple assault, harassment and disorderly conduct.

 

3/13/2024
Nanticoke man pleads guilty to courtroom threats
James Halpin – Citizens Voice

 
A Nanticoke man accused of threatening the lives of three Luzerne County judges and two prosecutors has pleaded guilty to terroristic threat charges.
Jacob Ryan Cartwright, 33, pleaded guilty to two misdeme
anor counts of making terroristic threats in exchange for prosecutors with the Attorney General's Office dropping additional charges against him.
Lackawanna County Senior Judge Thomas J. Munley, who took over the case following a full bench recusal of Luzerne County judges, accepted the plea Friday and set sentencing for April 12.
According to prosecutors, Cartwright began his outburst after Judge Richard M. Hughes III found him in contempt of a restraining order during a hearing in October.
Cartwright proceeded to get increasingly aggressive and threatening, warning he would spit in the judge's face and that his life "is (expletive) done," according to prosecutors.
The defendant then began threatening judges Stefanie Salavantis and Tarah Toohil and started cursing at prosecutors, the charges alleged. Cartwright continued his tirade at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility, where he threatened to kill Correctional Officer Kristopher Renfer and his daughter, prosecutors said.
The counts Cartwright pleaded guilty to pertained to the threats against Hughes and Renfer.
Cartwright, who has been incarcerated since Oct. 25, continues to be held without bail at the county jail pending sentencing.

 

2/27/2024
Five arrested during drug investigation in Nanticoke


NANTICOKE — Police in Nanticoke City and the Luzerne County Drug Task Force seized illicit drugs and arrested five people when a search warrant was served at a residence at 244 E. Main St. Saturday.
John Matthew Fox, 26, was charged with three counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and possession of a firearm with an altered serial number. He was jailed at the county correctional facility for lack of $200,000 bail.
Beth Ann Lewis, 30, was charged with a single count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. She was jailed for lack of $100,000 bail.
Matthew King, 33, of Wilkes-Barre, was charged with possession of a controlled substance and two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia. He was jailed for lack of $2,500 bail.
Jeremy Michael Shea, 32, of Plymouth, was apprehended on an arrest warrant from Nanticoke police related to a burglary offense. He was jailed for lack of $35,000 bail.
Joelene Marie Moon, 36, of Philadelphia, was apprehended on an arrest warrant from Newport Township police. She was jailed for lack of $30,000 bail.
District Judge Joseph Spagnuolo of Plains Township arraigned the five people.
Police and drug agents said the search warrant at the East Main Street residence was based on numerous complaints of suspected drug activity.
Suspected methamphetamine, suspected marijuana, digital scales, packaging materials and a 9mm Ruger handgun with an altered serial number, and two boxes of ammunition were seized during the search of the residence, police said.

2/8/2024
Nanticoke man charged with running marijuana growing operation 
James Halpin – Citizens Voice


A Nanticoke man was arraigned Thursday on charges alleging he ran a marijuana-growing operation cultivating over 80 plants in the upstairs bedroom of a Plymouth Twp. home.
Travis Ryan O'Leary, 35, is facing 89 charges related to the growing operation state police say they discovered at 107 W. Poplar St. in the spring of 2022.
According to the complaint, troopers went to the home at the request of O'Leary's ex-girlfriend, Melissa Blythe, who previously had protection-from-abuse orders against him and believed he had locked her out of the residence.
When troopers went to what they thought was an upstairs bedroom they were hit by the smell of marijuana and encountered a growing operation featuring water lines, lights, tarped enclosures with reflective panels and soil, according to the charges.
The operation was located in a room near the bedroom of O'Leary's son, who was also present in the home, police said.
Blythe admitted she was aware of the operation but maintained O'Leary was solely responsible for it, troopers said.
O'Leary, who has a degree from the Pennsylvania College of Technology, was previously employed at a legal medical marijuana growing operation in Lackawanna County, according to the complaint.
Investigators seized 86 marijuana plants, five Ball jars and a clear plastic bag from the room, police said.
Troopers charged O'Leary with one felony count each of drug trafficking and endangering the welfare of a child, 86 misdemeanor counts of drug possession and one misdemeanor count of possessing drug paraphernalia.
Magisterial District Judge Rick Cronauer arraigned O'Leary on the charges Thursday — as well as on a separate simple assault and strangulation case troopers filed out of Plymouth Twp. — and set bail at a combined $20,000.
O'Leary was being held at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Feb. 21.

 

2/7/2024
Glen Lyon man charged with hitting 2 cop cars during chase
JAMES HALPIN – Citizens Voice
 
A Glen Lyon man remained hospitalized Wednesday after being charged with crashing into two police cars while leading a high-speed chase across the valley with a fanny pack full of methamphetamine and marijuana, according to police.
Jeremy Michael Shea, 32, of 29 Railroad St., is facing felony fleeing and eluding charges following the chase that spanned from Nanticoke to the West Side and then back across the Susquehanna River to Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday evening.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Shea remained hospitalized with non life-threatening injuries, Nanticoke Police Chief Michael Roke said.
According to the complaint, a Nanticoke officer spotted Shea, whose driver's license is suspended, driving a blue and white motorcycle without a license plate in the 200 block of Lower Broadway Street.
Shea failed to stop for the officer and took off across the Nanticoke Bridge, speeding up to around 60 mph as he took U.S. Route 11 into Plymouth, according to police.
Shea repeatedly crossed into oncoming traffic, forcing other drivers to swerve out of the way, and ran multiple stop lights and signs as he led police though the borough and then back up to Edwardsville, police said.
Shea hit an Edwardsville police car while passing it on Route 11, leading the chase into Kingston and then across the Market Street Bridge into Wilkes-Barre, according to the complaint.
The chase, drawing ever more officers from the involved municipalities, eventually ended up with Shea being cornered at North Washington and East Maple streets in the city's North End.
As he continued trying to elude capture, Shea drove up onto a sidewalk and through a front yard before crashing into a second police car — this one owned by the City of Wilkes-Barre, according to the complaint.
Police tackled a combative Shea to the ground and eventually restrained him with officers from three jurisdictions, the charges allege.
They found Shea in possession of a glass pipe as well as a fanny pack containing a bag of meth and three jars of marijuana, according to the complaint.
Shea was taken to an area hospital to be treated for injuries including several broken bones.
Police charged him with felony counts of fleeing police, criminal mischief and drug possession, as well as misdemeanor counts of fleeing the scene of an accident, resisting arrest, failing to appear in court, possessing a misbranded substance and driving with a suspended license.
Shea is additionally charged with a number of traffic violations, including driving an unregistered vehicle, disregarding traffic lanes and failing to stop at a red signal.
Court records indicated Shea had not been arraigned on the charges as of Wednesday afternoon.

 

2/5/2024
Nanticoke police seeking burglary suspect
Times Leader


NANTICOKE — Police in the City of Nanticoke say they are searching for Richard J. Simon Jr., 38, on a warrant charging him with burglarizing a residence in January.
Police investigated a burglary at a home in the 300 block of West Union Street reported on Jan. 24.
Various tools and construction equipment were stolen from the residence, police reported.
During the investigation, police followed foot prints and wheel tracks in snow that allegedly led to Simon’s residence.
A search warrant was served on Simon’s residence when police say items stolen from the West Union Street house were recovered.
Police obtained an arrest warrant for Simon on Sunday charging him with burglary.

 

1/27/2024
Teen to stand trial on attempted murder charges in Nanticoke shooting
James Halpin – Citizens Voice
 
NANTICOKE — A Wilkes-Barre teen accused of shooting a 14-year-old boy in the head last summer will stand trial on attempted murder charges, a magistrate ordered Friday.
James Alberto Jr., 16, of Wilkes-Barre, is charged as an adult with conspiring with John Carl Pearce IV, 16, of Wyoming, to shoot Jaylen Curtis in the back of the head and the right ankle during a drive-by shooting at West Green and Maple streets in Nanticoke on the evening of July 21.
During a preliminary hearing Friday, Curtis testified that he had been looking at his phone while walking to Park Market on east Broad Street when he was shot.
“I just heard a loud bang and that was it,” Curtis said, adding that the next thing he remembered was waking up in a hospital.
Nanticoke Patrolman Jacob Williams testified that he was the first officer on scene and arrived to find a woman tending to the bleeding wound on the back of Curtis’ head with some napkins.
“There was blood on the ground,” Williams said. “He was laying on his back, just staring up at the sky.”
Despite Curtis being unable to identify his attacker, Assistant District Attorney Julian Truskowski got to work placing him at the scene of the shooting with the assistance of the lead investigator, state Trooper Andrew Morgantini.
Surveillance footage from the area of the shooting showed a male wearing a ski mask and a black hoodie leaning out of the rear passenger side window, opening fire over the roof of the car, Morgantini said.
The vehicle was a 2014 silver Hyundai Elantra, which investigators learned had been stolen from a home on East Union Street on July 19.
The same car was later burned nearly to the frame in a parking lot near Eno and Church streets in Plymouth in a fire that Cpl. Justin Landsiedel, a state police fire marshal, ruled a case of arson caused with the use of an accelerant.
Surveillance footage showed the vehicle was followed to the scene of the fire by a black Ford F-150 with a “unique grill” that had been stolen from a home on Third Street in Salem Twp., Morgantini said. After the fire, the co-conspirators fled the scene in the truck, leaving the car to burn, he said.
Additional security footage obtained from the Sheetz at 568 E. Main St., Larksville, showed Pearce at the store, and his cellphone records subsequently showed ongoing communications with one of Alberto’s online accounts during the day and night of the crime, Morgantini said.
Truskowski argued that although there is little direct evidence tying Alberto to the shooting or arson, the surveillance footage and cellphone communications helped establish a “landslide” of circumstantial evidence against him.
“Mr. Alberto and Mr. Pearce are together the entire time,” Truskowski said. “There’s just too much proximity — same place, same time — for it to be a coincidence.”
Defense attorney Matthew Muckler countered that the evidence of Alberto’s involvement is “woefully short” of meeting the prosecution’s burden, noting that Alberto was not clearly identifiable in any of the videos and that police initially described the shooter as being a white, non-Hispanic male when in fact Alberto is Black.
“Any evidence that ties my client to any of that (the shooting or arson) is flimsy and conjecture at best,” Muckler said. “They have no evidence of any appreciable strength to tie my client to the shooting.”
Magisterial District Judge Donald L. Whittaker disagreed and bound over for trial charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, arson, reckless burning, criminal mischief, tampering with evidence, receiving stolen property, carrying a concealed weapon without a license and possessing a firearm as a minor.
The judge ordered Alberto to remain jailed without bail awaiting trial.
Pearce, who previously had his preliminary hearing, is likewise awaiting trial on attempted murder conspiracy and related charges.
As police escorted Alberto out of the Nanticoke Municipal Building after his hearing, he offered only a brief comment before a woman called out for him to keep quiet.

 

1/24/2024
Warrant: Man shot partner in murder-suicide attempt
James Halpin – Citizens Voice

A Nanticoke man fatally shot his partner in the head before turning the gun on himself Monday night, according to a search warrant application filed in court.

Police say Scott B. Richards, 48, shot and killed 43-year-old Carrie L. Boneforte, the mother of his daughter, at their home at 389 E. Union St., Nanticoke, in an attempted case of murder-suicide. Authorities said later Tuesday that Richards had died from his injuries.

“My Heart aches you guys were everything to me,” Boneforte’s son, Noah, wrote on Facebook Tuesday morning. “So many people loved you and we will always remember you.”

According to the search warrant signed by Magisterial District Judge Donald L. Whittaker, police were dispatched to the family home shortly before 8:30 p.m. Monday and were greeted by the couple’s 11-year-old daughter as well as Bonefort’s 21-year-old son and his girlfriend.

Investigators found Richards at the top of the stairs with a gunshot wound to the head and a black pistol lying near his body in a pool of blood, according to the warrant.

Richards was barely breathing and was rushed to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Twp., where he was intubated and placed on life support, police said.

Boneforte was found curled into the fetal position in a bedroom, also with a gunshot wound to the head. Police said she had no pulse and that it was apparent no life-saving measures would save her.

Prior to obtaining the warrant, investigators also noted an unfired full-metal jacket round in the upstairs hallway, along with a shell casing at the top of the stairs. There was also a hole in the wall near Richards, police said.

The warrant, which characterizes the shooting as a case of criminal homicide, authorized police to seize blood and trace evidence, firearms, ammunition, cellphones and photographs.

Nanticoke Police Chief Mike Roke said Richards died Tuesday. Richards had remained on life support while doctors prepared to harvest his organs, he said.

Roke said investigators were searching cellphones seized from the home in an effort to determine a motive for the shooting.

Nanticoke detectives, a state police forensics unit and the Luzerne County Coroner’s Office are investigating.

1/23/2024
1 dead, another injured in ‘likely murder-suicide’ in Nanticoke


NANTICOKE – A woman is dead and a man was left injured after an incident in Nanticoke on Monday night, according to authorities.
Our newsgathering partners reported the news late Monday night.
Nanticoke Police Chief Michael Roke confirmed with 28/22 News Reporter Emily Allegrucci officials were called to the 300 block of East Union Street in Nanticoke at 8:24 p.m.
Roke explained a woman was found dead on the scene while a man was found alive and was transported to a nearby hospital. There is no word at this time on the man’s condition.
Chief Roke told 28/22 News that it was a domestic incident and was “likely a murder-suicide.”
Roke said there is no danger to the public and this is an isolated incident.

 

1/23/2024
Nanticoke man pleads guilty to sexually assaulting child
elewis@timesleader.com


WILKES-BARRE — A man from Nanticoke admitted in Luzerne County Court he sexually assaulted a girl several times inside a Conyngham Township residence in 2023.
Joseph Paul Banesh, 28, last known address as West Church Street, was accused of sexually and physically assaulting the girl between April 19 and April 21, 2023, according to court records.
Banesh pleaded guilty to statutory sexual assault, sexual assault, corruption of minors and simple assault before Judge Joseph F. Sklarosky Jr.
Prosecutors withdrew charges of rape, aggravated indecent assault, criminal attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, strangulation and indecent assault against Banesh.
Banesh was scheduled for a trial this week but opted to plea guilty to some of the charges.
Banesh was charged by the Pennsylvania State Police at Shickshinny after a girl reported he sexually assaulted her. She was treated at a hospital in Columbia County.
During an interview with troopers, Banesh admitted to having sexual relations with the girl claiming the relationship was consensual. Banesh told troopers he “blacks-out” and only remembered suffocating the girl with a pillow, court records say.
Banesh remains jailed at the county correctional facility and is scheduled to be sentenced May 2.

 

1/18/2024
Cops: Thrashing, threatening man sedated and arrested 
James Halpin – Citizens Voice


A man who was stumbling drunkenly down a Nanticoke street last weekend began thrashing and hurling threats after being taken to an area hospital for a mental health evaluation, eventually having to be sedated to end his violent outburst, according to police.
Razhem Johann Smith, 39, of 372 N. Washington St., Wilkes-Barre, is facing assault and threat charges stemming from the confrontation that began in the area of Middle Road and Espy Street shortly before 1 p.m. Saturday.
According to the complaint, police were first dispatched to a report of a man stumbling down the road and arrived to find Smith slurring and unable to stand up straight. Smith, who was wanted for failing to appear in court, lied about his name and, after being arrested, began spitting in the back of a patrol car, police said.
At the Luzerne County Correctional Facility, Smith told officers he was suicidal and would kill anyone else lodged in a cell with him, police said.
Officers then brought him to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital for a mental health evaluation, where Smith became “very irate and violent,” police said.
Smith began smashing his head into windows and walls, kicked tables and chairs and began thrashing around, according to the complaint.
Acknowledging that he is not legally allowed to buy a gun, Smith suggested he could purchase a crossbow that he could use to ambush arresting officers and hospital security, police said.
After threatening to stab a security guard with a four-inch knife “so he’d suffer,” Smith was given medication to calm him down, according to the charges. Smith then attempted to bite the fingers of the administering nurse, police said.
Smith was eventually sedated with Haloperidal and Benadryl after attempting to overturn his hospital bed, police said.
Smith, who was released after being deemed competent on Sunday, was charged with simple assault, making terroristic threats, providing a false identity, disorderly conduct, public drunkenness and harassment.
Magisterial District Judge Donald L. Whittaker arraigned Smith on the charges Sunday afternoon and set bail at $75,000.
Smith was being held at the county jail with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Jan. 24.

 

1/16/2024
Plains Township man charged with impersonating Nanticoke police sergeant
elewis@timesleader.com


NANTICOKE — A Plains Township man was arraigned Tuesday on allegations he impersonated a Nanticoke police sergeant and a Luzerne County adult probation officer.
Dominick Rogo, 31, of West Carey Street, manufactured text messages between himself and the police sergeant and probation officer that he forwarded to a woman in Nanticoke, according to court records.
The woman, who is serving a probation sentence for retail theft, became suspicious and notified authorities.
Court records say the Nanticoke police sergeant and the probation officer denied communicating with Rogo.
One of the text messages solicited the woman to send Rogo drugs and cash, court records say.
During an interview with Rogo, court rec
ords say, he admitted to making up the text messages and sending them to the woman.
Police in Nanticoke and Luzerne County detectives charged Rogo with two counts each of impersonating a public servant and criminal use of communication facility and a single count of theft by extortion. Rogo was arraigned by District Judge Donald Whittaker of Nanticoke and released on $25,000 unsecured bail. 

 

1/5/2024
Nanticoke man sentenced for online child solicitation
elewis@timesleader.com

WILKES-BARRE — A man from Nanticoke who believed he was conversing online with a 15-year-old girl and asked if she was into “kinky stuff” was sentenced in Luzerne County Court Thursday.
President Judge Michael T. Vough sentenced Sean D. Lewandowski, 52, of West Noble Street, to nine-to-23 months in state prison for criminal attempt to commit unlawful contact with a minor and consecutive three years probation for corruption of minors. Lewandowski pled guilty to the charges June 12.
Kingston police with information provided by a cooperating witness charged Lewandowski in October 2021, part of a sting operation of online child predators.
According to the criminal complaint:
An unnamed cooperating witness provided online chats Lewandowski had with someone he believed was a 15-year-old girl.
Lewandowski asked the girl if she had ever been with an older man, asked if she ever had sex, and suggested performing sexual acts, asking the girl if she was into “kinky stuff,” the complaint says.
Lewandowski also asked the girl if her parents would call police if they ever found out.
Lewandowski was confronted by the cooperating witness, believing he was meeting the teenage girl.
Lewandowski is required to register his address as a sex offender for 25 years under the state’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

1/5/2024
Nanticoke man sentenced on child corruption offenses
Ed Lewis – Times Leader

WILKES-BARRE — A man from Nanticoke was sentenced in Luzerne County Court on child corruption offenses Thursday.
President Judge Michael T. Vough sentenced Nicholas Jack McEwen, 40, last known address as West Green Street, to three years in the county’s restrictive program program with the first year on house arrest with electronic monitoring. McEwen was sentenced on two counts of corruption of children he pled guilty to when prosecutors withdrew two felony counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and four misdemeanor counts of indecent assault on Oct. 20.
Nanticoke police charged McEwen in March 2021, after two boys were questioned by a forensic interviewer at the Luzerne County Children’s Advocacy Center.
The two boys told the forensic interviewer McEwen sexually assaulted them inside his residence in December 2020, according to the criminal complaint.

 

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