Shamokin woman allegedly assaults police, pleads guilty on unrelated offenses
SHAMOKIN - Hours after being charged for allegedly fighting with Shamokin police, smashing a window on a cruiser and spitting on two officers, a 19-year-old Shamokin woman joined her 21-year-old sister Wednesday afternoon in Northumberland County Court, where they both entered guilty pleas for various offenses.
Marissa Diane Birster, of 11 S. Market St., Apt. 3, was committed to the county prison on a parole violation early Wednesday morning and later charged with a felony of aggravated harassment by a prisoner, misdemeanors of resisting arrest, institutional vandalism, tampering with evidence, disorderly conduct (three counts) and simple assault, and summaries of criminal mischief, theft by unlawful taking and underage drinking.
The charges filed by Shamokin Patrolman Scott Weaver relate to disturbances at 1:44 a.m. Wednesday outside 707 W. Chestnut St. and Shamokin Police Station. Birster's sister, Stormie Birster, of 27 E. Sunbury St., Apt. 3, Shamokin, also was cited for disorderly conduct in connection with the incidents.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Coal Township police notified city officers of a disturbance at Second and Chestnut streets, which is near the Coal Township line. Upon arriving at the scene, Weaver said he observed a group of people on a second-floor deck yelling. As Weaver climbed the steps to the second floor, the officer said he spotted Coal Township Patrolman Chad Yoder telling a female to calm down while she swung her arms and pointed at someone directly behind Yoder.
When Weaver got to the top of the steps, he saw the Birster sisters screaming and refusing to obey orders to stop.
Weaver said he immediately handcuffed Stormie Birster and escorted her down the steps and placed her in the back of a police cruiser. The officer said he then went back up the steps to further assess the situation. Police then spotted Marissa Birster shouting obscenities on the street below.
Police warned Marissa numerous times to stop yelling, but she continued and told police that she had been involved in an incident at the apartment.
Weaver went down the steps to speak with Marissa. When he went back up the steps to the deck, Marissa followed him and refused to be detained by Yoder, Coal Township Patrolman Chris Lapotsky and Ralpho Township Officer Steve Spade.
When Weaver ordered Marissa to go down the steps, she replied, "Go ahead Weaver, (expletive) arrest me."
Weaver then told Marissa she was under arrest for disorderly conduct, which prompted her to run down the steps in an effort to flee police.
The Shamokin officer was able to apprehend Marissa on Chestnut Street, handcuff her and place her in a police cruiser.
Upon talking to a male and female inside the Chestnut Street apartment, police were informed that Marissa and another female had assaulted the female occupant of the apartment and was in possession of her coat, cell phone and keys. Police, who did not identify the inhabitants of the apartment, learned that Marissa was in the apartment because she was a friend of the male resident's niece.
Police then were told that Marissa broke the framework on the rear door of the police cruiser and pushed the glass outward and spit on Spade, who was trying to stop her from damaging the vehicle.
Marissa continued to struggle with Spade, Lapotsky, Yoder and Shamokin Cpl. Bryan Primerano and refused demands to stop her behavior. Police said the defendant used her legs to block police from closing the door on the police car, which forced officers to try to place her into the same cruiser where her sister was sitting. Police said Stormie attempted to calm her sister down, but Marissa used her legs in an attempt to damage the door and door frame.
Police said Marissa continued to cause a disturbance as police attempted to place her into another police cruiser.
Urinated in cell
Police transported Marissa to Shamokin Police Station, where she was placed in a holding cell. While being escorted to the cell, police said the defendant spit on Spade and Yoder and also spit on a wall near the holding cell.
While she was in the holding cell, four employees from AREA Services Ambulance responded on Marissa's request for medical assistance, which was made by Marissa on a cell phone on her way to the police station.
Police said Marissa refused to allow medical personnel to evaluate her and, at one point, urinated on the floor of the holding cell and took off one of her socks and rubbed it into the urine. While she was rubbing her sock in the urine, Marissa told police she was HIV positive before waving the sock at police.
Upon learning that Marissa had an active bench warrant for her arrest, Shamokin Police Chief Edward Griffiths and Special Officer II Norman Lukoskie responded to the station to transport her to the county prison. But Marissa continued to carry on before her sister was able to calm her down. Stormie also was able to retrieve a cell door key Marissa had taken from police during the disturbance at the station and disposed of the urine-soaked sock in a garbage can.
Police later found a cell phone in two pieces in the holding cell toilet.
Marissa was eventually transported by Griffiths and Lukoskie to the county jail, where she escaped near the front of the prison and ran down the street for approximately a block before being recaptured by Griffiths, who was assisted by Sunbury police. Griffiths said escape charges will be filed against Marissa by Sunbury police.
The Birster sisters didn't have much time to rest because they had a court date at 2:15 p.m. before President Judge Robert B. Sacavage.
Marissa pleaded guilty to simple assault involving an Oct. 6, 2011, disturbance in Shamokin that resulted in injuries to two county adult probation officers. She was sentenced by Sacavage to two years probation and ordered to pay a $300 fine, an Act 35 supervision fee and costs, while being given credit for five days previously served in the county prison.
She also was ordered to obtain a General Educational Development (GED) certificate within six months and write a letter of apology to probation officer Matthew Narcavage.
Her sister pleaded guilty to aggravated assault relating to the Oct. 6, 2011, disturbance. She also pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol involving a May 29, 2012, incident in Shamokin and possession of drug paraphernalia relating to a July 24, 2011, incident in the city.
She will be sentenced on those charges within 30 days following the completion of a records check.
Adult probation officers also had a bench warrant for Stormie for failing to pay fines and costs on crimes she committed as a juvenile, but Sacavage gave Stormie until noon today to pay off the fines and costs, which she last made payment on March 13.
The Birster sisters were represented at the guilty pleas by Attorney Michael Rudinski of Williamsport.
Assistant District Attorney Michael Toomey represented the commonwealth.
Marissa was recommitted to the county jail following her sentencing. Her sister remains free.
Steven L. Rivera, 21, of 11 S. Market St., Apt. 3, Shamokin, who was charged with aggravated assault, institutional vandalism, simple assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct in connection with the Oct. 6, 2011, incident, is scheduled to face a trial early next year.
Rivera, who remains incarcerated at Northumberland County Prison, was Stormie Birster's live-in boyfriend at the time of the disturbance.