SUNBURY – A Mount Carmel man, who previously pleaded no contest to three criminal charges for neglecting his elderly mother and forging her pension checks totaling more than $1,150, withdrew his plea Monday morning because he claims he’s innocent of the offenses.
Joseph Francis Campbell, 57, who was scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Charles Saylor on felonies of neglect of a care-dependent person and forgery, and a misdemeanor of recklessly endangering another person, will now face a hearing to determine if Saylor will accept the withdrawal of his plea.
Campbell’s public defender Paige Rosini told the judge, “Mr. Campbell is asserting his innocence in this matter and is withdrawing his plea.”
Saylor instructed Rosini to file a motion to withdraw her client’s plea. He said a hearing will be scheduled where the defense can argue its reasons for withdrawal and the commonwealth can oppose it by showing substantial prejudice would be created by the move.
On Jan. 13, which was the same day a jury was being selected for his scheduled Jan. 29 trial, Campbell pleaded no contest to the charges.
Additional charges were scheduled not to be prosecuted under a plea agreement with the district attorney’s office.
At that time, Saylor ordered a pre-sentence investigation and proposed a sentence of 22 to 44 months in a state correctional institution followed by probation.