Bribery case could go to trial in April
SUNBURY - The prosecutor in a bribery case involving Shamokin landlord Barry Getchey hopes to have the defendant's trial in April.
During a brief pre-trial conference Friday afternoon before Judge Charles H. Saylor, Assistant District Attorney Melissa Norton said the prosecution will present Getchey discovery evidence in the case and is ready to proceed to trial at the earliest available date, which would be the April term of criminal court.
Getchey, who told the judge he is representing himself because he can't afford legal counsel, repeated his previous stance that he wants to take the case to trial.
Getchey was charged by Trooper Kevin Kearney of state police at Stonington on April 16 with one count of bribery in official and political matters relating to an incident on Nov. 16, 2011, in which he allegedly offered $300 to Shamokin Housing Authority board chairman Raymond G. Splane if he would help the landlord get back federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) money withheld from him by the authority.
Getchey has maintained the money offered to Splane was not a bribe, but a thank-you gift if Splane agreed to help.
Getchey has accused the authority of withholding more than $10,000 in federal rental assistance funds between November 2011 and January 2012. However, the authority claims Getchey violated his HUD contact by not having a functioning heating system in September and October 2011 and not remediating a mold problem and other safety issues in his North Sixth Street apartment building.
Getchey initially sought acceptance into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program in hopes of having the bribery charge expunged. But in October, he withdrew his application for the ARD program and decided to take the case to trial following a last-minute objection to his participation in the program by authority members.