The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

February 8, 2013

Mother's quest for leniency rejected by Northumberland County judge

WASHINGTON — SUNBURY — A Northumberland County judge will not lessen the 12- to 60-month state prison sentence he imposed against the mother of an infant who died from hyperthermia after being left alone for hours in a hot room in October 2010.

In a seven-page order issued Thursday, Judge Charles H. Saylor outlined his decision for upholding the prison term he gave Heidi S. Yocum, 30, of Lewisburg, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor endangering the welfare of children for her role in the Oct. 15, 2010, death of her 1-year-old daughter, Aneela Loner.

“The consequences of (Yocum’s) failure to follow any normal maternal instinct on the day and evening in question resulted in a tragic outcome for a helpless 1-year-old child,” Saylor wrote.

Aneela was left in the care of her father, Lopaka Loner, and maternal grandmother, Bertha M. Dreese, of Selinsgrove, the day before she was found dead in her crib. Authorities said she was left alone for nearly a full day in a room with a space heater that elevated the temperature to nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit without anyone checking on her.

Loner, 29, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of endangering the welfare of children and recklessly endangering another person and was sentenced in November by President Judge Robert B. Sacavage to 11½ to 23 months in Northumberland County Prison.

Dreese has pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter and is awaiting sentencing.

Yocum had expected to receive probation in exchange for her plea when she appeared before Saylor last month.

In a post-sentence motion to vacate Yocum’s prison term, defense attorney Edward “E.J.” Rymsza argued that she “received nothing in return for her plea” and willingness to cooperate with authorities despite a recommendation for probation by the county probation department.

Saylor said Yocum did benefit from the plea deal by avoiding an even stiffer penalty, which could have been as long as 10 years in prison.

He said a lesser sentence wasn’t justified considering the child’s death and Yocum’s past drug abuse and criminal history, which included the theft of a purse from a church pew.

“This court followed the general guidelines as set forth in the Sentencing Code,” he said, adding that he was “particularly mindful... of the gravity of the offense as it relates to the impact on the community, and particularly the impact on this baby.”

The court also denied Yocum’s request to withdraw the guilty plea and to be released on bail pending post-sentence appeals.

 

1
Text Only
News
  • DEA packet compares school scores, salaries

    DANVLLE — Members of the Danville Education Association are circulating a pamphlet as part of their planned strike on Thursday.

    April 16, 2014

  • Snyder DA says email security breach could be a crime

    MIDDLEBURG — Even though acting Midd-West Superintendent Daphne Snook may not have broken school policy by monitoring district emails, Valley legal experts say she still may have broken the law.

    April 16, 2014

  • Midd-West board feels backlash

    April 16, 2014

  • Good Morning Central Susquehanna Valley

    Today is Wednesday, April 16, the 106th day of 2014. There are 259 days left in the year. On April 16, 1964, The Rolling Stones’ first album, eponymously titled “The Rolling Stones,” was released in the United Kingdom by Decca Records (a slightly different version debuted in the United States a month and a-half later).

    April 16, 2014

  • Donkey basketball draws 600, raises $1,800

    SUNBURY — The Shikellamy Fieldhouse was loud and rocking Tuesday night as Shikellamy High School students took on the Valley All-Stars in a donkey basketball fundraiser to benefit Newspapers in Education.

    April 15, 2014

  • mail16a.jpg Post Offices busy just before today's tax deadline

    SUNBURY — Bill Shambach plopped his three envelopes addressed to tax collectors on the counter of the Post Office on North Third Street at 12:15 p.m. this afternoon — four hours before the office closed for the day.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Guzzardi_Bob.png Governor's Republican opponent remains on primary ballot

    HARRISBURG — A Pennsylvania state judge has ruled that a Republican gubernatorial candidate can stay on the May 20 primary ballot as the lone challenger to Gov. Tom Corbett.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Suspect in Kansas shootings faces murder charges

    OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Kansas prosecutors filed state-level murder charges Tuesday against the white supremacist accused in shootings that left three people dead at two Jewish community sites in suburban Kansas City.

    April 15, 2014

  • Woman found in attic dies following house fire

    WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) — Authorities in northeastern Pennsylvania say fire claimed the life of a woman overnight.
    Officials in Luzerne County say crews were called to the Wilkes-Barre residence just before 11:30 p.m. Monday.

    April 15, 2014

  • Cold0415.jpg Local weather takes a major plunge today

    STATE COLLEGE — Heavy rain and thunderstorms will sweep across the Northeast later today, putting many at risk for dangerous flooding and damaging winds.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

The Daily Marquee
Poll

Are you among those who will be completing and mailing your tax forms today?

Yes
No - Already Filed
     View Results
Photo Galleries
The Valley

Parade
Magazine

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.