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Man sentenced on robbery and drug possession charges

October 26, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A man convicted of a robbery in which a man was assaulted with a crowbar was sentenced Wednesday in Franklin County Court to 7 1/2 to 15 years in state prison.

Joseph Sean-Micha Statum, 19, formerly of 603 Heintzelman Ave., in Chambersburg pleaded guilty in September to the May 10, 2005, robbery of Scottie's Coin Wash, 647 S. Second St., in which Garnet Houpt of Chambersburg was struck with a crowbar. Statum also pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and recklessly endangering another person, according to court records.

District Attorney John F. Nelson said a number of other charges, including a burglary of the South Mountain (Pa.) Hotel, were dismissed in exchange for Statum paying restitution. Judge John R. Walker order him to pay restitution of approximately $9,700 to Houpt, the hotel and insurers, along with $950 in fines.

Chambersburg police said Houpt, 75, was working at the laundromat that night when two men entered and asked to use the restroom. Nelson said Statum hit Houpt with the crowbar and his wallet was stolen.

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Houpt's daughter, Jean Reilly, read a statement in court about the extent of injuries to her father, who initially was released two days after the assault. Five days later, she said, he went into a coma and later required three surgeries, she said.

"Because of the physical damage this person has caused, my father cannot walk unassisted and he will never be able to drive again," Reilly said. Houpt had also been active in Boy Scouts, church and cooked for the homeless before the assault, she said.

"The money he earned cleaning and closing the laundromat ... was used for his grandchildren to help pay their tuition so they could attend a Christian school," she said.

Nelson said after the sentencing that Statum's accomplice in the robbery, Keith Riley, no age available, and of no fixed address, eventually turned himself in, pleaded guilty and was also sentenced to time in state prison.

The reckless endangerment conviction, for which Statum received two years on probation, came from a Feb. 16, 2005, incident that began in Waynesboro with police attempting to stop the vehicle Statum was driving because of an expired registration sticker, according to court records. During the ensuing chase, Statum nearly struck a postal carrier, Waynesboro police said.

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