— LEWISBURG - Suspended Hartleton police chief Donald "Larry" Zerbe did not enter a plea agreement as expected on Thursday and will instead opt for a jury trial in Union County Court.
Zerbe's lawyer, Hank J. Clark, of Pottsville, said Thursday his client maintains his innocence heading into the trial at the end of October.
Zerbe, 67, faces three third-degree felony counts, two of theft and one of conspiracy, for allegedly offering drivers who committed traffic violations in Hartleton a choice between getting a ticket or making a $150 donation to a playground fund.
Zerbe also faces two misdemeanor charges of obstruction and official oppression in the case. The alleged scheme ran between Jan. 1, 2008, and Nov. 24, 2012, and diverted $5,024 to the playground fund, the documents state.