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Mother sentenced to prison for probation violation

February 02, 2000|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Chambersburg woman who had been on probation on a charge stemming from an investigation into the 1998 death of her infant son was sentenced Wednesday to one to three years in state prison for violating probation.

"I guess I didn't make an impression the last time she was in here. Well, I'm going to make an impression on her today," Franklin County Court Judge John R. Walker said before sentencing Amy E. Sheffler, 22, for violating probation on her conviction for endangering the welfare of a child.

Chambersburg police found 6-week-old Tristen Michael Sheffler dead in his mother's Larch Avenue apartment on June 6, 1998. Former Franklin County Coroner Kenneth L. Peiffer said at the time the death was consistent with sudden infant death syndrome.

Sheffler pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child on Jan. 4, 1999, in exchange for the dismissal of charges of corruption of a minor, recklessly endangering another person, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana, according to court records. She was sentenced Feb. 19, 1999, to five years on probation.

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Sheffler had violated her probation by living in an unauthorized residence, having alcohol in her possession and testing positive for marijuana, according to Assistant District Attorney John Lisko. She was supposed to be living with her parents in Waynesboro, Pa., but Sheffler said she moved to a room at Carson's Motel in Chambersburg because she could not get along with her father.

Her attorney, Michael J. Toms, said County Probation officers visited her at the motel in November.

"There was a party going on and she was outside completely clean," he said.

Sheffler told Walker she tested positive for marijuana because she was upset one of her two children was placed in foster care by County Children and Youth Services.

"Until you get your act together, you don't deserve custody of your children," Walker said. "They pulled the short straw.

"You always have an excuse for everything you do. ... You need a wake-up call."

He sent her to state prison despite a Probation Department recommendation of four to 23 months in Franklin County Prison.

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