BELLEFONTE — A Carbon County man who tried to light a shirt on riot during last November’s riot will spend three months behind bars.
Patrick McLaughlin, 45, of Lehighton, was sentenced Thursday by county Senior Judge Charles Brown on misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and failure to disperse and a summary count of dangerous burning.
McLaughlin pleaded guilty July 31, the day he was scheduled for trial.
McLaughin apologized in open court for being in the riot that enveloped the downtown Nov. 9 after Penn State’s board of trustees fired former head football coach Joe Paterno. McLaughlin was in town working at the Foxdale Village construction site at the time.
“I should definitely never have been at that incident,” he told the judge.
McLaughlin received the most severe punishment of the defendants who’ve gone through the court system in the riot case. The others accepted plea deals and either got 30 days in jail or a few months of probation.
McLaughlin’s prior record — for felony burglary and other convictions from a crime spree in eastern Pennsylvania 15 years ago — meant he was facing at least three months in jail.
That’s what defense attorney Deborah Lux asked for, saying his prior offenses happened a long time ago and that he’s been cooperative while under county supervision while his case goes through the court system.
Prosecutor Daniel McKenrick sought a stiffer sentence than McLaughlin got — six months in jail, a year of probation and 100 hours of community service.
Brown did not give McLaughlin community service, saying he thinks it is an alternative to jail time. But the judge allowed McLaughin to be eligible for work release while in the county jail.
McLaughlin’s sentencing leaves just one defendant of 46 from the Nov. 9 riot who has not been punished by the court.
The case against the last one, a Penn State student, is pending and could go to trial.
All the defendants except McLaughlin were ordered to days of community service.
Those who were Penn State students were suspended from Penn State after the university’s internal review, which found 32 students had participated in the riot.
Mike Dawson is at 231- 4616 and on Twitter@MikeDawsonCDT.