The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

May 1, 2013

Defendant in ATV case gets jail term

SOMERSET — The man accused of seriously injuring a Windber police officer more than two years ago was sentenced Wednesday to six to 23 months in the county jail followed by two years on probation.

Somerset County President Judge John M. Cascio also ordered Brett R. Marsh, 35, of Windber, to pay restitution totaling $128,218.

“The sentence combined with the restitution was appropriate,” District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser said. “I would have been surprised if the court had not ordered incarceration.”

Marsh was illegally riding an all-terrain vehicle on private property when he ran down Officer John Rice on Nov. 18, 2010, police said.

Rice said at the time he had shined his flashlight at the approaching ATV and ordered the rider to stop.

One of Rice’s legs was broken in seven places, officials said at the time.

Rice, then 55, was off work for 21 months.

He has since returned to work as a Paint Township police officer but has trouble walking.

Marsh had been charged with attempted homicide, but Windber District Judge Joseph Cannoni threw out that charge during a preliminary hearing in 2011.  

Marsh’s attorney, Thomas Dickey of Altoona, said he argued on Wednesday for probation.

“I think we showed that Brett never saw (Rice) and never intended to run him over,” Dickey said. “I think we showed that the officer may have been hiding and jumped out trying to grab him off the ATV.”

Dickey said he has 10 days to file a motion asking the judge to reconsider the sentence.

In a letter sent to Lazzari-Strasiser last month, Teamsters Local Union No. 110, which represents Paint Township policeofficers, called the plea deal “disappointing.”

Rice “will live the rest of his life with the physical and emotional scars,” the letter said.

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