Shamokin man who kicked out cruiser windows chatty in court
SHAMOKIN - Tuesday's arraignment of a Shamokin man charged last week with threatening to kill police officers and kicking out the windows on a police cruiser was anything but routine as the defendant criticized the arresting officer, declared himself "God's undeserving son" and claimed his criminal acts were prompted by his wife's serious illness.
After exchanging pleasantries with Magisterial District Judge John Gembic III, Daniel Robert Gustitus rambled on about his most recent arrest and vented most of his frustration toward Patrolman Raymond Siko II, who charged the 54-year-old defendant with multiple offenses, including felonies of aggravated assault and aggravated harassment by a prisoner, relating to incidents that began March 12 outside his home at 28 N. Rock St.
He told the judge, "I'm not drinking. I'm not doing drugs. I'm not doing anything. Mr. Siko has an appropriate name. He came and ruined my evening. I wanted to make a citizen's arrest on him. Siko has no right carrying a gun."
Gustitus, an Air Force veteran, told Gembic he was enrolled in the county veterans' court and had been attending Alcoholics Anonymous sessions regularly.
"But Mr. Siko felt it was better for me to go to prison than see a psychiatrist in Wilkes-Barre," Gustitus said.
The defendant, who had his arms and legs shackled and was wearing a transport belt, claimed Siko threatened to "taser" him during the March 12 disturbances.
Gustitus, who was on probation prior to being arrested by Siko, admitted to committing some of the offenses he was charged with, but denied assaulting anyone.
Gustitus, who said he was crying and yelling in the street because he was upset about his wife's cancer, said he kicked out windows in the rear of a police cruiser on his way to the county jail because "God put the fury" in him.
During last week's disturbances, Gustitus claimed to be God. But at his arraignment, Gustitus said he was "God's undeserving son" or "Gus." He said, "I am not God. I am the son of God. I would give my life for God. I am only a piece of sand on the beach. God is the man."
Several times during the arraignment, which resembled a witness giving testimony at a hearing, Gustitus said he was just being "open and honest."
When asked about Gustitus' critical remarks, Siko said, "Taking into consideration Mr. Gustitus' rant and performance in front of the judge, I reserve any comment."
Gustitus' commentary drew laughs or smiles from the judge, media, other defendants in the courtroom, an attorney, Patrolmen William Zalinski and William Miner, and Special Officer I Robert Searls. Miner and Searls transported Gustitus to and from his arraignment.
After providing Gustitus with a copy of his criminal complaint and an application for a public defender, Gembic recited the charges and recommitted him to the county prison in lieu of $2,500 bail.
The judge ordered Gustitus to appear for a preliminary hearing Tuesday.
In addition to the felonies, Gustitus was charged with misdemeanors of criminal mischief, institutional vandalism and disorderly conduct (two counts) relating to incidents that began around 4:15 a.m.
Gustitus, who was wearing only a pair of jeans and socks when the disturbances began, yelled at police numerous times, resisted arrest several times and threatened to kill Siko, Cpl. Bryan Primerano, Special Officer II Norman Lukoskie and two Sunbury police officers who assisted after the defendant kicked out the rear windows on a police cruiser along Route 61 near Sunbury while en route to the county jail, causing more than $1,000 in damage. The defendant also is accused of spitting at officers, who had to place a spit hood over his head.