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 Post subject: Tremont man sent to prison for violating probation
PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:26 am 
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Tremont man sent to prison for violating probation
by peter e. bortner (staff writer
Published: February 13, 2010

The Tremont man originally charged with detonating a fatal blast in 2006 in a Tremont Township mine must go to prison for violating his probation, a Schuylkill County judge ruled Friday.

Jeffrey T. Klinger, 43, will serve three to six months behind bars under the terms of Judge Jacqueline L. Russell's sentence.

"It just does not appear to me that nonconfinement supervision is appropriate," Russell said before imposing her sentence, which also requires Klinger to pay costs and perform 40 hours community service.

Friday represented the second time Russell ruled Klinger had violated his probation. The violations have turned what originally was a 60-day term of probation into prison time.

Russell ruled Klinger's two violations of a protection from abuse order, which he admitted on Jan. 13 when he pleaded guilty to two indirect criminal contempt charges stemming from those incidents, also constituted violations of his probation.

"Violating a protection from abuse order is criminal activity," Russell told Klinger.

In sending Klinger to prison, Russell followed the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Stevan K. Portman.

"The defendant has exhibited ... a lack of personal responsibility," Portman said. "I believe prison would be in his best interest at this time."

Klinger unsuccessfully asked Russell not to imprison him any longer.

"I would just like to go home and raise my daughter and go back to work," he said.

That work no longer includes mining, which Klinger had done until Oct. 23, 2006.

On that date, according to the state attorney general's office, Klinger set off an explosion in the R&D Coal Co.'s Buck Mountain Mine. Dale Reightler, 43, of Donaldson, was killed in the blast.

However, Klinger pleaded guilty on Sept. 16 only to two violations of mining law: blasting coal or rock without first obtaining a certificate to mine and storing explosives or detonators in the direct line of blasting. Russell placed him on probation for 60 days.

Russell revoked Klinger's probation on Nov. 9 after the miner had been charged with driving under the influence in a separate case. That DUI case is still pending.

On Nov. 23, Russell sentenced Klinger to one month on house arrest and five more on probation.

Hegins Township police charged Klinger with violating the PFA order, which Russell had filed on Dec. 28, by visiting the victim's home on Dec. 31, while state police at Schuylkill Haven charged him with violating the same order by calling her and visiting her home on Jan. 3.

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