Plea Change Allows Man Charged With Murder to Walk Free

HONESDALE — A man who was supposed to serve at least 17 years in prison for murder in Wayne County walked free Friday, seven years earlier than expected.

Joseph Iavecchio appealed his sentence and was able to change his plea.

In 2004, Joseph Iavecchio was sentenced to 17 years in prison after pleading guilty to third-degree murder.

Friday, he entered a new plea, guilty of manslaughter, and was able to walk free for time served.

Iavecchio walked into the Wayne County courthouse in Honesdale having served 10 years of a 17-year sentence.  But he didn’t leave in handcuffs. He was let out a secured side door, a free man.

Back in 2003, Iavecchio was charged with shooting and killing James Rosetti during a fight over a stolen marijuana plant. It all happened at a home in Waymart.

But Iavecchio’s new attorney appealed his sentencing, arguing that he wasn’t properly represented.

“He had been misadvised with respect to the availability of the self-defense defense,” said defense attorney Neil Jokelson.

Now more than 10 years after the shooting, Iavecchio withdrew his guilty plea to third-degree murder and pleaded to manslaughter instead.

Iavecchio said on the stand, “I truly had a lot of time to think about this. I am truly sorry for the pain I caused. I never meant to take a son from his mother.”

At Iavecchio’s first sentencing in 2004, James Rosetti’s mother said this shooting changed her life forever.

“My son is dead. He’s never coming back.  And although these people say they can feel what I feel, they’ll never feel what I feel,” said Marion Muck in 2004.

Iavecchio was sentenced again, but was able to walk free because of the time he’s already served.

This time, Rosetti’s mother, Marion Muck, didn’t want to talk on camera, but said in the courtroom in tears, “Jimmy is a treasure in my life. My life changed the day you shot my son. I don’t think the time you served made you a better person.”

Iavecchio is now out of handcuffs and out from behind bars about seven years ahead of schedule.

His attorney believes he’s a better person.

“I think he’s going to be a productive citizen. It’s my hope, but it’s also my belief,” said Jokelson.

Iavecchio will also have to pay more than $27,000 in restitution.

Prosecutors didn’t argue against accepting the new plea because they felt it would be too difficult to try a murder case 10 years after it happened.

On May 30, 2014, this story was updated to correct the spelling of the defendant’s last name.

42 comments

  • knows the truth

    Sad when 4 men can break into your home and try to kill you and your family, you as a homeowner and registered pistol defend yourself against a man with a knife and decker with a replica 9 mm handgun and you go to jail cause the lead home invader is the town supervisors son. Decker was shot in the chest. Medical evidence proved this and was also part of the conviction being over turned. Just cause it wasn’t mentioned on TV doesn’t mean it didn’t happen . Self defense and stand your ground laws should have been retro active and a trial would have occured

  • danmilmore

    Welcome home Joe, it’s great to have you back where you belong with your family and friends in NY. Everything happens for a reason, but now you must leave the past behind you and look forward to the rest of your life. Good luck and God bless.

  • Real Recognize Real American

    All parties involved are from NY whether its the city or upstate it has nothing to do with the murder, I find it ironic that the Honesdale Court said the case was too old for a new trial when we know of so many trials that have been overturned abd reopened that are way older than this case. It doesn’t surprise me that the Honesdale court would be too lazy yes I said it too lazy to reonvestigate the evidence they had for the first trial after all they are so busy with so many other cases. This is an injustice done by the Lazy Wayne County Court system. One thing is for sure if Joe Ivachio was notwhite they would have taken theproper time to make sure they did what was right to keep them from being a free man. case was too ther

  • Honest T

    If a bunch of teenaged punk drug dealers tried breaking into my house in the middle of the night I’d defend myself and my property anyway I could. Wouldn’t you? Or would you let them do whatever it was that they came to do?

  • Honest T

    What were Rosetti, Decker and Co doing when they showed up unannounced/uninvited at Iavecchio’s house that night? Why were they there? I’ll wait for answers…

  • What a Joke

    Well then we know the Black Monster that killed the Cabbie in Scranton will probably walk also someday ! WHAT A JOKE ! Put all these animals on an island penal colony by Air drop, no laws, no rules, let them no way of the island ! Let them all enjoy each others company and kill off each other if they like ! Criminals have it to easy, thay is why such high crime !

  • kal

    This is sick to me! I don’t care what his excuse is. They were fighting over pot!?! He should be behind bars. He took a life of a man and the mother will never get him back. He should not walk free! He took a life, so now his should be taken! I highly doubt he feels bad and learned from his mistake in jail. I will be watching for the next time his name is in the news. (Let me guess, it will be for drugs too!) Ridiculous!

    • Honest T

      Please keep in mind that Iavecchio was in his own home when Rosetti, Decker and Co trespassed onto his property. If those goons would’ve followed the law this tragedy would’ve never occurred. The DA made a deal because he knew there was no way Iavecchio would’ve been convicted on a murder charge so he took what he could get. Iavecchio never should have served as much time as he did…these criminals trespassed onto his property and he reacted. I never thought Pennsylvanians would scoff at a man’s right to defend himself…

    • Honest T

      Rossetti and Decker had drugs in their system at the time of the shooting…Iavecchio did not

      • Honest T

        Iavecchio didn’t have a marijuana plant. There was no marijuana in Iavecchio’s system nor on his property. Rossetti, a drug dealer, wrongly thought Iavecchio somehow was in possession of a plant stolen from him. Rossetti and Co went to Iavecchio’s house to get retrieve something that wasn’t even there to begin with. Those are the facts, the only reason Iavecchio even got charged was because of who Rossetti’s step father is. Everyone knows this

    • Honest T

      Decker was shot in his side, not his back. The amount of misinformation regarding this decade old case is laughable. While we’re on the subject of Decker, didn’t he get convicted of trafficking heroin across state lines? Sounds like a real nice group of guys that visited Iavecchio out of the blue that night all those years ago….

      • Get your facts straight

        Decker was shot in his side, was he? So what are the TWO scars in his back from?? Being shot twice in the back does not sound like self defense to me, he has those scars IN HIS BACK for a reason, not his side. It would be extremely appreciated if you would actually back up whatever you are saying with adequate information instead of making nonsense up. In addition, your comments further down the page indicate that “no one vacations in Wayne County.” That is also incorrect, and you clearly do not know enough about the area to make that assumption. The Hideout, for instance, is home to many vacationers that have homes there for the summer and come from New York, New Jersey, Florida, and even as far as Hawaii. So please, unless you have something factual to comment on about the area or different aspects of this case, do us all a favor and just don’t comment.

      • Honest T

        Here is something factual for you…the justice system decided that Iavecchio has served his debt to society. Your moanings and groanings are just sour grapes. Also, I’ll be sure to book my next vacation in beautiful Wayne County- the place to see and be seen.

      • Honest T

        “Do us all a favor and just don’t comment”

        Do us all a favor? First off, speak for yourself. I’ll say what I want when I want. The “victims” weren’t truly victims, you just think they are because you know them and are sympathetic to them. The Rossetti and Decker camps have lied for years, now that Iavecchio is a free man it’s about time the truth came to the surface.

  • Rich D'Auria

    The reporting is misleading, Iavecchio was granted a new trial, due to a Court agreeing that he was not represented properly. His first attorney did not pursue the proper defense of self-defense. The current District Attorney did not feel confident in trying the case with Iavecchio’s attorney citing self-defense. The DA put on the table, agree to a lesser charge and go free today! Not exactly a change of plea that got him released

  • Honest T

    Rossetti, Decker and Co went to Iavecchio’s house…he didn’t go out looking for them. In their sworn testimony Decker and Co admit to never meeting Iavecchio, then what were they doing at his house? This was purely self defense, the DA’s reluctance to charge Iavecchio with the same charges proves as much. Marian Muck can believe what she wants but a man served time he should not have even served in the first place. Anyone wishing ill will upon Iavecchio is just opening the door to some bad karma for themselves.

    • Live natural

      Let’s keep in kind that this was 2003, 17 year old KIDS. What a great idea to give a 17 year old kid a handgun. Poor parenting. I went to school with all of them and he was trouble since the day he moved here.

  • Howie

    He killed one, shot another and pointed the gun at a third that nite. He needs to stay in prison or be hanged on the court house lawn. I hope he goes back to ny now that he’s out, and out of Wayne county forever.

    • Honest T

      Maybe those goons should’ve never gone to Iavecchio’s house in the first place. Cause and effect. And don’t worry, no one in their right mind would ever want to return to Wayne County…it’s a complete hell hole.

      • Leroy Jenkins

        If it’s such a “hellhole”, why is it inundated with New Yorkers? “Hey, Tony! Look at all the trees! Let’s go cause some problems…”

      • Honest T

        I’ve been to Wayne County…do you know what’s a good thing to do when you’re in Wayne County? Packing up and leaving. PA is “inundated” with New Yorker’s because it is a cheaper place to live than NY and it’s cheaper because most people have no desire to live in the middle of nowhere

      • Live natural

        Right, it’s a hellhole but everyone comes to vacation here… You’re right it’s terrible. It doesn’t smell like city garbage .

      • Honest T

        Nobody vacations in the bustling metropolis of Wayne County. It is an insignificant place full of insignificant peons. I live in NYC and my neighborhood is full of million dollar properties, high paying jobs and doesn’t smell like garbage at all…you can keep your crappy little town to yourself, no one else wants it

      • Live natural

        Well thank god you left. No one vacations here? Are you kidding me? Obviously you have no idea what you’re talking about. Good luck in life because it sounds like you’re a close minded asshole.

    • Honest T

      If you think Wayne County is a desirable tourist destination you are delusional. People passing through stay the night, that’s it. Don’t pretend it to be a cultural epicenter boasting world class cuisine, fine arts and reputable institutions of higher learning. It’s a glorified trailer park….cheap accommodations, cheap food and low wages.

      • Live natural

        To be a desirable place to go it doesn’t have to be a booming montropolis. Is rather see trees out my window than buildings and pollution filled clouds any day. It’s so terrible in Wayne county that’s it’s filled with summer homes too since no one ever wants to stay more than one night.

  • Here We Go Again

    I’m sure he is going to become a productive citizen…trying to collect social security for the rest of his life.

  • dan

    so this guy walks because the courts didnt want to do work that wouldnt be easy? Wow….. going to see alot of bad people getting out of jail soon.

    • Rich D'Auria

      Your incorrect concerning the courts, as it was the court that granted a new trial. The DA, not seeing a win due to the new attorney’s action to argue it was self-defense, decided to offer the defendant a plea bargain.

  • Jimmy's snowmobile bud

    No one seem to mention the fact that he also shot Jimmy’s best friend mark decker and left him lay to with bullet holes in hish chest!! Touchy subject here

    • Honest T

      Didn’t Decker do time for bringing heroin across state lines? Or is he still in the joint? Either way I know he’s a lowlife degenerate….

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