Addiction no excuse, judge says



Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth Seamans has been on the bench for nearly 20 years, he reminded those in the court for sentencing hearings on Thursday, Sept. 20.

“This country spends billions of dollars on rehabilitation efforts. There are a plethora of agencies willing to assist with addiction. But on the last Thursday of the month, people come in here with excuses for what they did,” he said as defendant Jason Fay, 37, of Factoryville, appeared to be sentenced on three burglaries that occurred in 2010.

Fay was sentenced to serve three, concurrent, two to 15 year sentences for burglaries that occurred in Ararat, Harford and Jackson townships.

Judge Seamans ordered the Susquehanna County sentences run consecutive to the four-eight year sentence issued earlier this year from Lackawanna County.

Fay’s criminal behavior stemmed from an addiction problem, Susquehanna County Public Defender Linda LaBarbera told the court.

Fay apologized to the victims. “I’m ashamed of what I’ve done. I take full responsibility. There are no excuses, I’m asking for help.”

Since his arrest in March 2011, Fay has navigated through the justice system in four Pennsylvania counties – Lackawanna, Monroe, Wyoming and Susquehanna.

LaBarbera said Fay also faces charges in Broome County, N.Y.

LaBarbera said that during Fay’s 19 month incarceration, he has come to learn that all drugs are bad, including alcohol and marijuana.

While those substances did not contribute to Fay’s criminal behavior, the public defender told the court, they did lead him to use harder drugs, including heroin.

Fay, and his co-defendant Treavor Murdter, owes thousands of dollars to the three Susquehanna County homeowners and their insurance companies. Murdter was sentenced in June in Susquehanna County Court.

Homeowner Donald Bennett took the stand at the hearing. Bennett is a deputy sheriff in Susquehanna County.

“This individual took a lot of stuff from my family, my children and my wife,” Bennett told the court. Fay and Murdter stole jewelry from the residence and cut the telephone wires to the deputy’s home.

He asked for Fay to receive a consecutive sentence “to give him time to get the help he needs with his addictions and problems.”

Fay was ordered to pay restitution of $6,730 to the Bennett’s; $10,967.42 to victim Barbara Day; and $15,112.92 to victim John McNamara. Restitution amounts were also ordered for the homeowners’ insurance companies.