SUNBURY — A Shamokin landlord accused of bribery, changed his mind about going to trial just hours after a jury was selected and decided to enter a no-contest plea Monday and accepted his sentence today.
Barry Getchey, 69, appeared before Northumberland County Judge Robert Sacavage this morning and entered the no-contest plea after Getchey said he was called a slumlord by an elderly woman while leaving the court room Monday.
“I wanted to go to trial but after hearing her call me that I decided that if there were other people who might think that I would be in trouble,” Getchey said while continuing to claim his innocence. “I didn’t want to go to jail.”
Getchey was charged by state police at Stonington in 2012 with bribery and obstructing administration of the law in official and political matters. Getchey allegedly offered $300 to the Ray Splane, the Shamokin Housing Authority board chairman, in return for Splane helping him get federal Housing an Urban Development money that was withheld from the landlord by the authority.
Getchey admitted he did offer the money but it was not a bribe, it was a way of asking for help for assistance on filling out the proper papers and getting the HUD money Getchey said was owed to him.
Getchey. a landlord for 18 years, owns two properties in Shamokin, one of which is a seven unit apartment building.
Getchey was initially accepted into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program in hopes of having the bribery charge expunged, but he withdrew that application and decided to go to trial, he said.
Sacavage accepted the deal and Getchey was fined $300 and court costs.