Former prison guard gets probation for drug delivery

February 12, 2019

A former prison guard at the State Correctional Institution at Somerset accused of helping to smuggle drugs into the facility was sentenced to five years’ supervised probation Monday.

Shawn Kirkpatrick, 40, of Ebensburg, pleaded guilty Dec. 12 to possession with the intent to deliver marijuana, a felony, according to court documents.

“I made a bad decision and unfortunately it is going to follow me around the rest of my life,” Kirkpatrick said Monday during his sentencing. First, he apologized for his actions.

Defense attorney Thomas Dickey of Altoona pointed out that his client was well-behaved while he spent more than a year in the Somerset County Jail awaiting a resolution of the case. Kirkpatrick was there in lieu of a $100,000 bond.

The length of time that Kirkpatrick spent behind bars — 378 days — was one of the reasons President Judge D. Gregory Geary gave for his decision. The judge also said that the sentence was within the standard range of the sentencing guidelines, and that anything less would depreciate the seriousness of the offense.

The former Carrolltown resident has been free on an unsecured $100,000 bond since his Dec. 12 plea hearing. He was accused of conspiring with an inmate — and possibly an ex-inmate — to smuggle drugs into the prison on Aug. 1, 2017.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Tomm Anthony Mutschler had nothing to say either to the court or to newspaper reporters in the courtroom other than reading the charge against Kirkpatrick prior to his sentencing.

Geary ordered Kirkpatrick to pay the costs of prosecution and supervision and a $500 fine. He must submit to DNA testing and pay $250 to the DNA detection fund.

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