The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


August 26, 2013

Judge ponders plea deal in school threat case

 SUNBURY - A 37-year-old homeless man pleaded no-contest Monday to making terroristic threats against an elementary school in the Shikellamy district, but first told a judge that he wasn’t satisfied with his public defender.

Jeremy Michael Church, who has a mailing address of 249A W. Market St., Middleburg — his mother’s house — pleaded no-contest to a felony count of terroristic threats, and a misdemeanor count of terroristic threats for a December incident that drew Point Township, Northumberland, Sunbury police and state police at Milton to the Priestley Elementary School in Point Township because of the threats. Church also pleaded to a drug paraphernalia charge.

The plea agreement calls for a sentence of nine to 23 1/2 months in prison.

Northumberland County President Judge Robert Sacavage asked Church several questions to determine if Church understood the plea. When the judge asked Church if he was satisfied with his attorney, Church responded, “Not particularly.”

Sacavage then ordered a five-minute recess so Church and his attorney, Northumberland County public defender Michael Suders, could discuss the possibility of a jury trial if Church decided not to enter a plea.

Church, who has been incarcerated at the Northumberland County Prison for more than eight months, told Sacavage he wanted to do whatever he could to get out of prison because he needs to care for his daughter.

Church also told the judge he has been seeing a prison psychologist because he was a cell mate of Andrew Beers, of Paxinos, who hanged himself in the prison on Aug. 13.

Church eventually entered the plea and now awaits sentencing for his role in the December incident.

It began around 11:20 a.m., on Dec. 20, 2102, when a woman called the school and asked to pick up her child because her ex-boyfriend said he was going to come to the school and kill the child, police said.

The caller, who was identified as the mother of Church’s child, then called 911 and said the man was going to kill her and the child.

The threats brought officers from surrounding communities as well as concerned parents and relatives swarming to the elementary school after word got out that there were “serious threats” to the children inside.

Priestley Elementary School, which had 452 children, immediately was locked down, and minutes later, the entire Shikellamy School District followed. Police rushed to the school to meet an already waiting group of concerned parents, who had been stopped from going near the school.

Church, police said, referenced the killing of 20 boys and girls and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., just days before the Dec. 20 incident.

Sacavage said he would look over the plea agreement and would schedule a hearing to deliver his decision on whether he would accept the plea and sentence Church at that time.

n Email comments to

Text Only
  • Tawny Dog owners not surprised to learn pooches get jealous

    DANVILLE — Dogs are often considered man’s best friend, but a recent study shows that pooches can get a little green over how much time you spend with other canines.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • lottery Big lottery payouts pay off for seniors

    HARRISBURG — State lottery officials say less means more for seniors.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Donations to Budd family near $60,000

    SHAMOKIN DAM — The Valley continues to give as fundraisers keep forming and donations steadily pour in for the Budd family, of Ohio, while Sharon Budd continues her fight back from drastic injuries suffered when a rock thrown from an Interstate 80 overpass in Union County slammed through the windshield of the family’s vehicle three weeks ago.

    July 30, 2014

  • B-17 fly-over to honor 'Dutch' VanKirk

    NORTHUMBERLAND — A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress will soar in honor of the late Theodore “Dutch” VanKirk during his graveside services Tuesday morning.

    July 30, 2014

  • dogs31.jpg Is Spike spiteful?

    Dog is often considered man’s best friend, but a recent study shows he may be a little green over how much time you spend with other pooches.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • CORBETT_TomC.jpg Corbett: VanKirk helped to save the world

    Gov. Tom Corbett today issued the following statement on the death of Northumberland County native Theodore “Dutch” VanKirk, the last surviving crew member of the Enola Gay:

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Afraid of grandson? "Now I am," Amanda Trometter says

    Erick Trometter slept with hunting and butcher knives beside his bed while living with the grandmother he allegedly attacked on the morning he was shot after allegedly pulling a knife on a city police officer.

    July 30, 2014

  • vk1.jpg Ted VanKirk: Seen from above

    The Daily Item is republishing online its spring 2012 interview with Northumberland native Ted “Dutch” VanKirk, the navigator of the Enola Gay, which dropped the first of two atomic bombs on Japan in 1945. The story appeared in Inside Pennsylvania magazine. VanKirk died Monday in Georgia at age 93.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • vankirk_ted1.jpg “The Japanese were beaten before we even dropped the bomb”

    Compared to the 58 other missions they ran together, the one they were assigned to carry out on Aug. 6, 1945 was easy.
    There would be no return fire, flying conditions were ideal, and if all went according to plan, they would be back to the base in Tinian by nightfall.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Ritz-Craft Ritz-Craft to hire 60 for Mifflinburg plant

    MIFFLINBURG — Sixty jobs are coming to Mifflinburg as a Ritz-Craft production facility that went dark seven years ago amid the housing downturn will come back on line during the next few months, company officials announced Tuesday.

    July 29, 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.