Hallstead man gets sentenced for ninth DUI

WILLIAM DEACON

BY ROBERT L. BAKER

A 32-year-old man from Hallstead was sentenced Wednesday in the Wyoming County Court of Common Pleas to 15-45 months in state prison for his ninth DUI offense.

William Robert Deacon Jr. acknowledged that he had a problem, but asked President Judge Russell Shurtleff for leniency.

“I apologize for being in front of you once again,” Deacon told the judge, “But I want you to know I have been trying to take some steps to curb my drinking problem.”

He didn’t, however, outline them.

Deacon, the father of an 8-year-old boy and girls aged 10 and 14, was represented by public defender Deborah Albert-Heise who acknowledged her client “has one of the most severe alcohol problems I have ever seen.”

She acknowledged that Deacon had two other DUIs which Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth Seamans would likely be addressing at a sentencing hearing in Montrose on Thursday.

(He received two concurrent 12-36 month sentences on those charges in Susquehanna County.)

Albert-Heise said that when  Deacon is sober, “he’s a hard worker and not really a bad guy.”

After getting out of jail the last time, she said he did well for a couple of years “before he landed back in front of you.”

“He knows he needs help, and he wants to get help so he can be in his children’s lives again,” Albert-Heise said.

When asked by Judge Shurtleff if he’d like to say anything, Deacon first shook his head, then looked straight at the judge.

“There’s really no excuse for things I’ve done,” he said. “Drinking’s always been my downfall.”

He also told the judge, “My dad is very sick and I don’t want to be in jail when he dies.”

When Deacon pleaded guilty in February to the Jan. 25, 2009, DUI, Shurtleff told him he could get a maximum of five years in jail and $10,000 fine.

It also could have been worse had a related additional charge of driving on a suspended license not been nolle prossed.

In addition to the jail time, Deacon faces a $2,500 fine.