A former Gannon University student, who was arrested in April for an incident at Nash Library, pleaded guilty to one count of resisting arrest earlier this month.
Christopher R. Hower appeared in court Sept. 11 for the charges brought against him in April. Hower was charged with a number of counts, but pleaded guilty to the third count – resisting arrest a misdemeanor.
Due to a plea bargain, the remaining charges were dropped, some of which included aggravated assault, public drunkenness and terroristic threats with intention to terrorize another. As the prosecutor explained, the count of resisting arrest carries with it a maximum penalty of $5,000 and two years in confinement.
After she spoke, the Public Defender Nicole Sloane explained Hower’s situation to the judge: Hower is a 26-year-old Navy veteran honorably discharged, who lived on the West Coast before coming to Erie.
Sloane also mentioned the fact that he began experiencing mental illness while on the West Coast and that his family has a history of mental illness.
Hower’s attorney also mentioned that he was exacerbating the issue by using both bath salts and marijuana.
Judge Ernest DiSantis Jr. then spoke and talked about how many people have mental illness but don’t break the law and resist arrest. The judge went on to say that Hower needs to learn to deal with his mental illness.
Hower then waived his rights to pre-sentencing, so the judge decided to move directly to sentencing. Hower was sentenced to pay the cost of prosecution, a period of confinement from three to 23 months, treatment for mental health administered by the Veterans Administration with no alcohol.
DiSantis also wished to provide Hower with the chance for parole quickly, and provided credit for confinement served as of April 21.
Hower stated that he disputed the dropped charges, and wishes to return to Gannon University as a student.