Category: Armstrong County Court House

Pittsburgh Man Guilty of Kittanning Drug Crimes Sentenced

Daniel Walker, Jr. of Pittsburgh (Crafton Heights)

A Pittsburgh man caught selling cocaine and heroin two years ago from local landmarks was sentenced in court yesterday morning.

David Walker, Jr., 31, from the Crafton Heights neighborhood of Pittsburgh, was sentenced to serve up to four years in the state Department of Corrections by order of Court of Common Pleas Judge James Panchik.

Walker’s son and the child’s mother do live in Armstrong County, and Walker maintains a house within the county, Walker’s defense attorney Linda L. Ziembicki said.

Walker faced sentencing on two unrelated charges Tuesday morning – both relating to July 2013 incidents with undercover police.

According to an affidavit filed July 1, 2013, Armstrong County Narcotics (ARMNET) agents observed Walker speaking with confidential informants in the 300 block of Jacob Street in Kittanning Borough before they exchange cocaine and $250 in cash.

As part of that case, Walker pled guilty prior to the sentencing hearing to misdemeanor criminal use of a communication facility after contacting the informants via phone. For that, he was sentenced to serve 12 months to 36 months (one to three years).

A few weeks later, on July 29, 2013, ARMNET agents observed Walker exchange eight bags of illegal heroin with a confidential informant in the parking lot of Staley’s Motel in Rayburn Township. Walker was later found in possession of an additional 78 stamp bags of heroin with the “SAPRANOS” logo after a marked police stop in Kittanning Borough.

Walker pled guilty to felony criminal use of a communication facility as well as misdemeanor drug possession to nullify the remaining charges. For the first charge, Walker was sentenced to serve 18 to 48 months (1 ½ years to four years) in the Department of Corrections and the second from 12 to 36 months (one to three years).

All confinement is concurrent with the other sentences.

Armstrong County Assistant District Attorney Cindy Calarie recommended incarceration for Walker up to three years, but before his sentence, Judge Panchik also considered Walker’s past criminal history – which included juvenile burglary, firearm charges, possession of controlled substances and more than a half-dozen other different offenses.

“There (isn’t really any) excuse for my actions – I’m guilty,” Walker told Judge Panchik before he was sentenced.

“I fell in love with money.”

Walker’s probation for other offenses was also revoked two other times in Allegheny County, Judge Panchik said.

In December 2012, Walker was sentenced to 11 ½ months to 23 months of incarceration followed by two years of probation.

“It appears that supervision and incarceration has not worked,” Judge Panchik said. “It still resulted in additional crimes.”

Walker has been held in the Armstrong County Jail since May 16 due to his bail being revoked after not showing up for scheduled court appearances, according to Ziembicki. The amount of credit time is to be further determined by court officials.

As well as confinement, Walker was sentenced to 50 hours of community service, refrain from drug use and entering establishments that sell alcohol.

Kittanning Township Elementary Sale Complete

The sale of Kittanning Township Elementary was completed yesterday in the Armstrong County Court of Common Pleas. (KP File Photo)

by Jonathan Weaver

Armstrong School District has now completed its sale of a former elementary school.

Last Fall, school officials voted to sell Kittanning Township Elementary to Tim Fouse Excavating for $88,000.

Monday afternoon, school officials took their case to Armstrong County President Judge Kenneth Valasek.

“The statute under which the school district operates requires the approval of the Court of Common Pleas during a private sale,” Judge Valasek explained.

Solicitor Lee Price represented the school district and asked questions of School Superintendent Stan Chapp – the lone witness during the hearing.

Chapp said it was “absolutely” the best decision to sell the property to Fouse.

The school, currently not used for any school purposes, was closed in June 2012.

School district officials initially sought offers for the property in February 2013. There were two offers quickly received, totaling $50,000 and $65,000 from unknown bidders, respectively, but both were rejected in hopes of receiving a higher price.

For five months, from August to December 2013, the space was leased to a furniture dealer at a final cost of nearly $15,350.

After that lease expired, school district officials again sought sale offers in Spring 2014. An $85,000 offer was received from CWM Environmental, Inc. of Rayburn Township, and that offer was accepted, but later voided after CWM Environmental withdrew their proposal.

In August, three more offers were received, the highest from Fouse at $88,000.

The Armstrong School District will retain mineral rights at the former school.

Fouse, who currently operates his business along Silvis Hollow Road in Kittanning Township, hopes to use the space for storage and to rent offices.

No residents attended the hearing to oppose the sale.

Judge Valasek found all the prerequisites for the sale were satisfied and signed the order

“As soon as he’s ready to go, we’ll be ready to go,” Price concluded. “This was the last thing we had to do.”

The hearing lasted about 10 minutes, but was delayed due to a previously-scheduled private hearing.