Briefs: Man Faces Prison, Fine in Animal Cruelty Case

Article excerpt

An Allentown man accused of stabbing his 1-year-old pit bull and putting it into a trash bin to die was held for trial Wednesday on animal cruelty charges.

Reginald Coleman, 18, of Industry Street, appeared before Magistrate Cathleen Bubash at Pittsburgh City Court.

Kathy Hecker, a humane officer with Ohio Township-based Animal Friends, said Coleman is accused of stabbing the brown-and-white dog with a knife on Oct. 16 and then throwing the dog in a trash bin in Allentown because he was angry at the animal for soiling his house.

The dog, which has since been renamed Chance and adopted, was found by a bartender using the trash bin. Tips led to Coleman's arrest Friday, Hecker said.

Coleman, who has been lodged in the Allegheny County Jail, faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a $20,000 fine if he is convicted.

Butler County

Giant Eagle clerk faces theft trial over $85,000

A supermarket clerk accused of stealing nearly $85,000 from the Giant Eagle store at the Clearview Mall in Center Township was ordered to stand trial on charges of theft and receiving stolen property.

Joshua Bertoncello, 21, of Slippery Rock, pretended to pay refunds to customers at the store and pocketed the money, state police testified at a preliminary hearing this week.

Bertoncello told police he used the money for bills for a troubled car he bought, among other things, police said.

The store discovered the missing money in an audit and further investigation showed that Bertoncello was working when the largest card refunds were handed out, authorities said.

Bertoncello's lawyer, Al Lindsay, declined comment Wednesday.

Butler County

Police: Hunter died of natural causes

A hunter whose body was found Wednesday in Butler County died of natural causes, state police said. The 64-year-old hunter's body was found off Bonniebrook Road in Summit Township, east of Butler, troopers said.

Bedford County

Murder suspect seeks freedom until trial

An Everett man who has spent more than 18 months in jail on kidnapping and murder charges wants to be released until his trial.

Joseph William Clark, 47, said his right to a speedy trial has been violated.

Clark is charged in connection with the murder and abduction of Holly Notestine. The 25-year-old mother of two was abducted from her Monroe Township home on April 30, 2000, and killed.

The only exception to the 180-day trial rule is when proof is evident and presumption is strong, Clark's attorney, Thomas Crawford, said this week. Those elements are lacking, he said.

Bedford County District Attorney William Higgins said bail is not an option in capital murder cases.

Clark, a former iron worker, was charged in spring 2005. Since his arrest, the case has been delayed by appeals to the state Superior Court.

Erie County

Former teacher pleads guilty to corrupting teen

A former high school teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student has pleaded guilty to corruption of minors.

Jeffrey R. Harvey, 37, who taught social studies at Harbor Creek High School, had a relationship with the female student in April and May, before she turned 18, state police said. He resigned from teaching in June.

Harvey pleaded guilty this week to a first-degree misdemeanor count of corruption of minors before Erie County Common Pleas Judge William R. Cunningham. Prosecutors said the guilty plea will cause him to lose his teaching license.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 25. Harvey faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $10,000. He is free on $50,000 unsecured bond.

City Council OKs raising taxes

Erie City Council has approved a tentative budget that would increase taxes by 12 percent and close one of the city's seven fire companies. …