Victim’s Brother Asks Judge For Leniency

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BLOOMSBURG -- A man from Columbia County could spend close to three years behind bars for a hit and run that killed a man near Berwick.

During Friday’s sentencing, the victim's brother asked the judge to show mercy to the young driver.

Terry Mohr says at first he hated the young driver who drove drunk last September, hit Mohr's brother and left him to die on the side of a road near Berwick.  But Mohr says now he accepts the apology from Joseph Rish and wants to see him learn from his mistakes outside of jail.

A judge in Columbia County ordered Joseph Rish, 20, to spend between 16 and 32 months in jail for the hit-and-run death of Robert Mohr.

Rish could have received as much as 15 years behind bars.

Earlier this year, Rish pleaded guilty to a long list of charges, including homicide by vehicle and DUI.  Police say Rish was drunk in September 2012 when he hit Mohr who was riding his bicycle home from work near Berwick.

"When it first happened I wanted to see the boy do all kinds of time.  Over the year, it healed some.  Not much, but it healed some.  I know he's got to do time, he ought to do time but he's got a mother and a family, too,” said the victim's brother Terry Mohr.

During Rish's sentencing at the courthouse in Bloomsburg, Mohr asked the judge for mercy.  Mohr says he was once in trouble himself  and wants to see Rish learn from his mistakes.

"I learned from my mistakes, that's why I quit drinking.  I've got almost 20 years without it.  I hope he can go that long once he gets out and gets straightened out."

Joseph Rish's family did not wish to speak on camera, but they tell Newswatch 16 they are thankful for the sympathy Mohr showed in court.  They say they did not dream he would say that.

"I told her to stand behind him and take care of him.  If he needs help with his alcohol, get it,” Mohr said.

During his sentencing, Rish said, "I apologize to the Mohr family and to my family.  I will use this to better myself.  I'm not a bad person; I just made a bad decision."

"I accepted his apology.  I just hope he learns from it,” said Mohr.

Because of time already served, Joseph Rish could be out of jail in about four more months.


  • kim

    Everyone makes bad choices some have worst outcome then others I truly believe people need to pay for things they have done wrong but I’m not one who believes being in prison half of your life is the solution there is other help out there for all these kids and adults that have problems I think instead of locking people up for drugs or alcohol and keeping them in prison for the first offenders they should be putting them in rehab centers and trying to help them I know many people who judge him and say he should be locked up a long time but how many of you at some time in your life drank alcohol and got behind the wheel you may not of hit anyone but its still wrong and you may have just been one of the lucky ones

  • Lewis Heiser

    Three years is not enough, he was under age and drunk. They should also go after the one who supplied the alcohol. I will remember his name and if he has another incident I will remind him of his words.

  • Kelli Miller

    Another alcohol-related tragedy. I think the judge was lenient and although I would like to think I am a forgiving person, 3 years for a life of a loved one is not enough. I know incarceration doesn’t cure alcoholism but unfortunately, there is still a price to be paid for “bad choices”. Incarceration will never erase this preventable accident or the suffering of both families but hopefully, this young man will get sober and stay that way. He should be on his knees grateful for his light punishment!

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