Woman to bear witness against co-defendant
SUNBURY - A Mount Carmel woman, who has agreed to testify against a co-defendant charged in an October strong-arm robbery of a Marion Heights woman, was sentenced Monday to 9 to 23 months in Northumberland County Prison on four criminal charges.
Northumberland County President Judge Robert B. Sacavage imposed the sentence on 23-year-old Vanessa Ann Steigerwalt, who was given credit for 133 days previously served in prison.
The defendant, who pleaded guilty in December to criminal conspiracy to commit robbery, criminal conspiracy to commit flight to avoid apprehension, criminal conspiracy to commit theft and false reports, also was given 2 years consecutive probation and ordered to pay $450 in fines and an assortment of costs and fees. She is required to make $472.56 in restitution and avoid contact with the victim in the case, Lisa Beury, 53, of Marion Heights, and a co-defendant, Robert Warren Powers, 27, of Mount Carmel. She is prohibited from going to bars.
Beury was in attendance at the sentencing, but did not offer any testimony.
Steigerwalt, who had her legs shackled during the sentencing, has no prior criminal record. Her attorney, Paige Rosini, of the county Public Defenders Office, said her client has cooperated with authorities and agreed to testify against Powers if necessary. Powers, who is awaiting further court proceedings, remains incarcerated at the county prison.
Steigerwalt apologized Monday for her criminal actions and promised to "walk a straight line" in the future.
Northumberland County Assistant District Attorney Melissa Norton represented the commonwealth.
Steigerwalt was recommitted to the county jail following sentencing.
Powers, who was released from state prison in New Jersey seven months ago after serving three years for burglary, and Steigerwalt were charged Oct. 16 by Mount Carmel Township Patrolman David Stamets Jr. and Chief of Police Brian Hollenbush with felonies of criminal conspiracy to commit robbery with force, robbery with force and flight to avoid apprehension, and misdemeanors of theft, receiving stolen property and simple assault, and a summary of harassment.
Steigerwalt, who gave police conflicting statements about the robbery and initially denied her involvement in the crimes, also was charged with misdemeanors of unsworn falsification to authorities and making false reports to police.
They are accused of robbing Beury on her front porch when Beury arrived home at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 9 after cashing a $500 Lottery ticket at Boyer's Food Market. Beury was allegedly knocked to the ground by Powers during the robbery and had her purse stolen.
Powers then ran east on Melrose Street, north on Brunswick Street and east on Coal Street, where he entered a vehicle operated by Steigerwalt before fleeing the scene, police allege.
Police reported Powers discarded Beury's purse along Route 54 between the co-generation plant at Marion Heights and Turkey Hill Minit Market in Strong. Police said Powers stole only $50 and failed to notice that the remainder of the money from the Lottery ticket was contained in a side pocket of the purse, police said.
Police said Steigerwalt was taken into custody at Boyer's Food Market, where she was employed. She moved to Mount Carmel in January 2012 from Sellersville in Bucks County.
Powers, who is from Camden, N.J., was apprehended in the 200 block of East Seventh Street, about a block away from his home.