The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


January 24, 2013

Judge nixes work release for Mifflinburg man involved in fatal shooting

LEWISBURG — A petition for work release by a 21-year-old Mifflinburg man serving a 30-month to 5-year state prison sentence in the Union County Jail for fatally shooting a friend was denied Wednesday.

Alexander M. Shoemaker will be eligible for parole June 12 after serving the minimum sentence for accidentally shooting to death Anthony “Tone” Hernandez, 16, of Mifflinburg, on May 8, 2010, while handling a loaded 9mm pistol as they smoked marijuana and played video games inside Shoemaker’s Walbash Road home in West Buffalo Township.

At sentencing seven months later, then-President Judge Harold F. Woelfel Jr. ordered the 19-year-old Shoemaker to serve his state prison term in the county jail for his own safety despite calls for harsh punishment from Hernandez’s family.

In May 2011, after spending five months behind bars, Shoemaker petitioned the court to be sent to state prison, where he would have access to more programs than the 35-bed county jail offers, or be granted work release.

Woelfel denied both requests, calling Shoemaker “naive and clueless” for wanting to transfer to a state facility housing hardened criminals.

As he nears the end of his minimum 2 1/2-year sentence, Shoemaker is looking forward to freedom and again petitioned the court for work release.

Attorney Mark Lemon told the judge that Shoemaker has a job offer from a local dairy farmer, has been a model inmate and his request to be allowed out daily for work is supported by county jail Warden Douglas Shaffer. “It’s an important step for him to take,” Lemon said.

District Attorney D. Peter Johnson had no objection to the petition and said Hernandez’s grieving parents didn’t respond to the proposal when contacted by victim-witness coordinator Vicki Hackenburg.

Woelfel was unmoved as he pointed out the letter from the local dairy farm owner said Shoemaker would be considered for a job, not that a position is available, and Shaffer only described Shoemaker’s good behavior as an inmate without indicating any support for work release.

In denying the petition, Woelfel said he made the decision to house Shoemaker in the county jail for safety reasons and had he been in a state facility he would not be eligible for the work-release program.

“I don’t see why he should get something not available in state,” the judge said.

Lemon argued that Shoemaker would have had access to many more technical and educational programs as a state inmate.

“The state may not have work release, but (inmates) can at least learn a trade,” he said.

After the brief hearing, Terri Jo Shoemaker said her son didn’t expect to be released for work.

As he was being led back to the jail, Shoemaker turned to his mother and younger sister and said, “You don’t have to worry about it. I’m good.”

Text Only
  • Today's Editorial: Experts showing the way for reform

    Domestic abuse remains one of the most prevalent crimes nationally yet remains routinely unreported.

    July 23, 2014

  • Feds ship 500 children to Pennsylvania

    HARRISBURG — An influx of unaccompanied children crossing the southern U.S. border is spilling into Pennsylvania, as state officials received word Monday that more than 500 are being housed in the commonwealth.

    July 22, 2014

  • Hope Lewis Inmate's widow wants $750,000 from Northumberland County

    SUNBURY — The widow of a Shamokin man who hanged himself inside Northumberland County Prison is demanding $750,000, the firing of all jail employees who worked the night of June 16 and a complete overhaul of policies and procedures for suicidal inmates.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Vancliff Lifer gets more time for molesting Danville girls

    WILKES-BARRE — A convicted murderer accused of having persuaded a former Danville woman to bring two girls to visit him in a northeastern Pennsylvania prison so he could molest them has been sentenced to additional prison time and fined.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Union County driver, 86, dies near Weikert

    WEIKERT — An 86-year-old Weikert man died in a one-car accident Tuesday morning, when he lost control of his vehicle on Weikert Road in front of the Union County Sportsman’s Club, veered off the road and slammed into a tree.

    July 22, 2014

  • Director hired for Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area

    BURNSIDE — An Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area committee member with experience in the ATV industry was named the operations director of the park during Monday night’s authority meeting.

    July 22, 2014

  • Line Mountain hires expert to test gauge that failed

    MANDATA — Members of the Line Mountain school board Tuesday unanimously approved hiring an engineering expert to test a pressure gauge and fuel system that failed at the former Dalmatia Elementary School in February.

    July 22, 2014

  • 'Greatest con artist' gets 2 more years behind bars

    WILLIAMSPORT — The “greatest con artist” Senior Judge Robert Sacavage said he has ever seen was sentenced Monday to 2 more years in prison after he traveled outside the U.S. Middle District of Pennsylvania without permission and failed to report to his probation officer.

    July 22, 2014

  • 1obamanew.jpg Conflicting rulings on Obamacare

    A federal appeals court has delivered a serious setback to President Barack Obama’s health care law, potentially derailing subsidies for many low- and middle-income people who have bought policies.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • bearden9.jpg Bail reduced for Bearden

    Jasmine Bearden, who was arrested earlier this year on criminal attempted homicide charges for the alleged abuse of her six-week old baby, had her bail reduced in Union County on Tuesday morning.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

The Daily Marquee

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.