Thursday, July 24, 2014





Court briefs


September 25. 2013 9:06PM
SHEENA DELAZIO

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WILKES-BARRE — A city man charged with shooting and killing another man after a fight between their sons entered a not-guilty plea at a formal arraignment Wednesday and will likely stand trial on a homicide charge in January.


Shauntae Thomas, 36, is charged with the shooting death of Derrick Cottle, 40, in April. Thomas’ attorneys say he was “overcome with the intense emotion” after seeing his son beaten and lying in a pool of blood. Because of threats to him and his family, Thomas believed his actions were justified, his attorneys have said.


Senior Judge Joseph Augello said a trial will likely be held the second or third week of January.


WILKES-BARRE — A lawyer representing a Plymouth Township adult entertainment bar filed court papers Tuesday asking that a lawsuit against the establishment be thrown out.


The Getaway Lounge filed court papers through its attorney, Daniel Lynch, of Philadelphia, asking that at least one of the counts in the lawsuit be dismissed. Tuesday’s court papers also say the bar denies any negligence on its part in the suit filed by Rachel Fincham Kaminski.


Kaminski filed the suit last month stating the business knowingly gave her alcohol when she was drunk, causing her to drive drunk and ultimately strike a car head-on. She and two others were injured.


The suit seeks more than $100,000 in damages.


According to the suit, Kaminski was at the Getaway Lounge on Nov. 26, 2011, and was drinking until about 11:30 p.m.


The bar and an unnamed worker, identified in the suit as Jane Doe, continued to provide her with drinks even though she was “visibly intoxicated, had slurred speech and was speaking incoherently,” according to the lawsuit.


Kaminski left the bar and tried to drive home, side-swiping several vehicles, driving on the wrong side of the road and causing a head-on collision.


Kaminski had a blood-alcohol level of 0.301 percent, the suit states. A person in Pennsylvania is consider intoxicated with a BAC of 0.08 percent.


WILKES-BARRE — A Lycoming County man charged with sexually assaulting a teen girl pleaded no contest Wednesday to a related charge and was sentenced to three to 10 years in state prison.


James Walter Zerby, 46, of Linden, entered the plea to a charge of unlawful contact or communication with a minor and was sentenced by County Judge Lesa Gelb.


Zerby must register his address under Megan’s Law and appear for a Megan’s Law hearing where a judge will determine if he is a sexually violent predator on Nov. 26.


Zerby was arrested by Newport Township police in May 2012 after the girl alleged he sexually assaulted her at a residence in Glen Lyon from 2003 through 2006. Zerby is known to the girl’s family.


WILKES-BARRE – A man charged with allowing gambling devices at a local pool hall pleaded guilty Tuesday to a related charge and was ordered to pay a $100 fine.


David Walkowiak, 57, of Guys and Dolls Billiards on South Wyoming Avenue, Edwardsville, pleaded guilty to a summary count of disorderly conduct and was ordered to pay a $100 fine by County Judge Lesa Gelb.


Walkowiak had originally been charged with a count of allowing gambling at the business, but prosecutors were agreeable to the disorderly conduct charge.


According to court papers, in May 2012, an officer with the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement found six video gambling devices in operation in the pool hall. Court papers indicate Walkowiak told police people playing the machines would receive a payout.


WILKES-BARRE — A Philadelphia man sentenced in July on charges relating to the May 2012 robbery of a Plymouth Township strip club has appealed his case to the state Superior Court.


Kevin Williams, 31, was sentenced on July 8 to 10 to 20 years in state prison after being convicted by a Luzerne County jury in May of robbery, trespassing, theft, receiving stolen property and two counts of criminal conspiracy.


Prosecutors say Williams and his co-defendant, William Gronosky, entered the Carousel Lounge on U.S. Route 11 in March 2012, pointed guns at the club’s owner and left with cash and other items.




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