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Court briefs

WILKES-BARRE – Luzerne County Clerk of Courts Robert Reilly recently announced that in cooperation with county President Judge Chester Muroski, his office will be releasing $75,000 to the Luzerne County Commissioners for general fund purposes.

The money was generated through court hearings on bail forfeitures held before Muroski. Reilly said his office will continue to collect any money due to the county and make the money available to the commissioners to help the county’s financial status.

WILKES-BARRE – A Luzerne County jury on Wednesday found a city man guilty of drug charges.

A jury of five women and seven men reached the verdict after two days of testimony in a trial for 43-year-old Samba Sey of North Pennsylvania Avenue.

Sey was charged in 2007, after, police say, he sold suspected cocaine to an undercover officer on Sept. 12, 2007, on River Street in Plains Township.

Sey was found guilty of delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance. He was found not guilty of possession with intent to deliver.

Sey’s attorney, Mark Singer, said in his closing statement Wednesday that Sey was only a drug user, not dealer. Singer said Sey had gone to visit a friend, who was a police informant at the time, who was going through withdrawal symptoms, and that he was going to provide her with the drugs so that she was no longer in pain.

Prosecutors and Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Reinmiller said in her closing statement that police found the drugs in Sey’s possession and they felt he was intending to sell them.

“It was clearly an exchange of money for drugs,” Reinmiller said.

Sey, whose trial was held before Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr., was scheduled to be sentenced on the charges July 15.

WILKES-BARRE – A Luzerne County jury on Wednesday found a city man not guilty of charges in which police said he beat a 9-year-old boy.

A jury of six women and six men made the decision after one day of testimony in a trial for 34-year-old Tomas Tula, of Terrace Street.

Tula was charged Jan. 26 with simple assault and terroristic threats after the 9-year-old boy told police Tula had beat him because he didn’t do exercises to lose weight properly, as instructed by Tula.

The boy testified Wednesday that Tula hit him with a belt and stick in the buttocks and thighs after he didn’t do the exercises fast enough. The boy testified Tula ordered him to do the exercises, which included pushups, to “lose weight.”

A Luzerne County Children and Youth case worker, as well as the boy’s school nurse, testified Wednesday, stating the boy went to school that day with a black eye and a scratch under his eye.

The boy said he got the injury in a fall on ice.

Tula testified Wednesday that the scrape and bruised eye was from a picture frame falling on the boy while he was at his house. Tula said the boy was running around the house, tripped on a floor that wasn’t level, hit a stereo speaker, and that the picture frame fell on his face.

The boy testified that a large black and blue mark on his thigh was caused by Tula hitting him with a broken broom and then with a stick.

The boy said Tula threatened to “cut his head off with a saw” if he told anyone about the abuse.

Tula was remanded to county prison and is serving time on unrelated driving-under-the-influence charges.

WILKES-BARRE – A Luzerne County judge denied the request of a man sentenced to 14 to 28 years on kidnapping and rape charges to reconsider his sentence.

Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. denied the request for reconsideration made by Joseph Eckrote, 50, of Nanticoke.

Olszewski also previously denied Eckrote’s request for a new trial. A jury found Eckrote guilty of the charges.

Eckrote was recently appointed a new attorney after a request was made stating a previous attorney was “ineffective.”

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