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Stoystown man sentenced to prison for escape, vandalizing jail

December 4, 2018

A former Stoystown man captured in the spring after being on the run for five weeks after walking away from a Somerset County Jail work release, was sentenced to prison Monday by President Judge D. Gregory Geary.

Nathen Kyle Hutzell, 26, had little to say at his sentencing hearing on two cases, the escape case and an institutional vandalism case that occurred after Hutzell was returned to jail on a $100,000 bond to await the results of the escape charges.

“I’m so sorry,” he said before he was sentenced to six months to two years in state prison for escape and institutional vandalism, both second-degree misdemeanors.

Geary told Hutzell that he was eligible for the Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive program. The law enables nonviolent offenders to reduce their minimum sentences if they complete recommended programs and behave while incarcerated. The program is designed to reduce an inmate’s risk of reoffending.

Hutzell’s alternate sentence is 4 1/2 months, Geary said.

Hutzell was arraigned on escape charges in May after he was found by state police in Summit Township. He had been serving a sentence for a probation violation involving retail theft and driving under the influence charges when he ran on April 18. He pleaded guilty to escape Sept. 11.

Hutzell and two other male inmates — Courtland Smith, 21, and Samson Washington, 26 — were charged with vandalizing their cells on July 21 using a 30- to 36-inch-long piece of steel wrapped in jail-issued pants from Hutzell. He broke the steel from a bed in his cell and used it to damage a sink and toilet, according to court documents.

Charges against Washington were dismissed at the magisterial level, and Smith is facing the institutional vandalism charges in county court.

Hutzell pleaded guilty to institutional vandalism on Nov. 1.

Geary said the state prison sentence was due partly to “the defendant’s behavior while in Somerset County Jail.”

Hutzell was ordered to pay $3,471.99 in restitution to the jail.

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