Veres to serve time for drug, arson charges|
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
By Jeff Corcino Staff Writer
A Drifting man pleaded guilty to drug and arson and DUI charges and was sentenced to 25 days to one year in prison by Judge Paul Cherry at yesterday's session of sentencing court.
Ronald J. Veres, 30, pleaded guilty to manufacture, possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance, arson-reckless burning or exploding and DUI third offense.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, on June 3 police responded to Hoot N Holler Lane in Cooper Township to investigate a fire that had destroyed a garage the previous day.
When interviewed by police the defendant said he started the fire to clean up some property when the fire spread to the victim's garage.
In addition to his prison sentence Cherry ordered Veres to pay the victim $86,449 in restitution and fined him $500 plus court costs.
According to the affidavit of probable cause on June 15 at 6:23 p.m. Lt. Todd Lombardo of the Morris-Cooper Regional Police Department received a report that Veres was growing marijuana behind his camper trailer.
Lombardo responded to the scene and observed three potted marijuana plants in plain view on the property. At 7:30 a.m. the next morning Lombardo served a search warrant on the property and seized the plants. A field test confirmed the plants were marijuana. The plants were then sent for testing to the state police Erie Crime Lab for confirmation.
On the DUI charge, Veres was sentenced to serve 90 days to one year in jail and was fined $1,500 plus court costs and was ordered to surrender his driver's license.
Veres has been incarcerated since June 29 and was released on time served.
In other cases, a Curwensville woman was sentenced to serve six months in the Clearfield County Jail by Cherry on 26 counts of identity theft/access device fraud charges.
Shannon Y. Jones, 31, is charged with seven counts of access device fraud, five counts of identity theft, 12 additional counts of access device fraud and two counts of theft by unlawful taking.
She was also ordered to pay the victim $2,470 in restitution.
The victim spoke at the hearing and asked Cherry to sentence her to as much jail time as possible saying the theft of her identity has thrown her life into chaos over the past year and said the defendant owes her and many other people a lot of money.
Originally the district attorney's office negotiated a plea deal with a three-month prison sentence but Cherry rejected it and said any plea deal must include a minimum six-month prison sentence, to which the defendant agreed.
When asked why the commonwealth agreed to a three month sentence, Assistant District Attorney Trudy Lumadue said sentencing guidelines call for a minimum sentence of probation to one month on a single charge and said the defendant does not have a prior record and although she was subsequently charged with bigamy in Jefferson County that charge can't be included with these charges.
However, Cherry said those guidelines are for a single count and she is facing 26 counts and was rejecting any plea deal that called for less than 6 months in jail.
Cherry also asked if anyone from the district attorney's office spoke with the victim on the case. Lumadue said she spoke with the victim at the preliminary hearing and the victim said she spoke to Assistant District Attorney Josh Maines as well.
The Progress was unable to obtain the affidavit of probable cause in this case.