Man avoids trial with guilty plea
Jason Lopez, 28, of Troy pled guilty in Bradford County Court on Thursday to aggravated harassment by a prisoner, a third degree felony, before Judge Maureen Beirne.
The guilty plea ended a jury trial scheduled to begin today before Judge Beirne, according to information provided by Bradford County District Attorney Dan Barrett. Jurors for the trial were selected on Monday and were scheduled to show up today at the courthouse.
Beirne will sentence Lopez on Feb. 20. The sentence carries a maximum penalty of 7 years incarceration.
The charge against Lopez stemmed from an incident that occurred earlier at the Bradford County Correctional Facility, where Lopez had been incarcerated at the time on an unrelated charge, Barrett explained. Lopez is accused of spitting on Warden Donald Stewart during an altercation.
The district attorney explained that Lopez was charged under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, amended in 1998, for the prosecution of any prisoner who harasses law enforcement officials with bodily fluids. The law was amended to take into account that many inmates are infected with communicable diseases, such as HIV and/or Hepatitis C, the district attorney explained.
Barrett said the charges from the incident were filed by Trooper Michael Mislevy of the Pennsylvania State Police.