SELINSGROVE — After spending four months in a Snyder County Prison cell away from general population inmates for allegedly burning down a Port Trevorton home while two relatives slept inside, 17-year-old Teasia M. Long has been transferred to a youth detention center in Bellefonte.
Public defender Patrick Johnson made the motion to have Long moved from the county jail where she was kept in lieu of $200,000 cash in a restricted housing unit away from adult inmates due to her age since her arrest on two counts of attempted criminal homicide and arson in early February.
She has been charged as an adult due to the severity of the crime.
Long, according to her own public statements in court, had been treated for mental health issues before allegedly burning down the Main Street home in Port Trevorton she shared with her aunt and uncle, Nancy and Gerald Bickhart, who raised her. The Bickharts were both injured in the early morning fire on Feb. 3, but have recovered from their physical wounds.
Johnson said he sought to have Long transferred to Torrance State Hospital for a mental health evaluation, but hospital officials said they couldn’t accept her because of her age.
“They said they can’t keep her safe and there are no other state-run programs that I know of,” Johnson said.
He’s now working to have her treated as an out-patient or at a private facility and has filed a motion seeking funds from the county to pay an expert for an evaluation.
Though Long fared well in the county lock-up, Johnson said, a mental evaluation is necessary to move the case forward.
District Attorney Michael Piecuch agrees.
“This is a troubled young woman,” he said. “She will be held accountable, but what that accountability looks like will depend on her evaluation.”