School Closings And Delays

Three Men Sentenced in Death of Officer Wilding

SCRANTON -- Three teenagers charged with the death of a Scranton police officer were sentenced Thursday in Lackawanna County.

That sentence of nine to 18 years in prison came down after all three agreed to plead guilty rather than face trial.

Nasiir Jones, Isiah Edwards, and Tanner Curtis admitted their roles in the 2015 death of Scranton Police Officer John Wilding and pleaded guilty to charges of third-degree murder and robbery.

The 19-year-olds, who were 17 at the time of Wilding's death, were all sentenced to nine to 18 years in state prison to be followed by seven years of probation upon their release.

“I think today signifies a victory for the family. They got to hear these three men admit their involvement, that stole John from them,” said Lackawanna County District Attorney Shane Scanlon.

Two years ago, Officer Wilding fell to his death while chasing the teenagers through the city's west side, the teens were suspected of armed robbery.

They have been locked up since.

This week, a judge ruled the teens would be tried in Lackawanna County despite their attorney's argument for a change of venue and according to those lawyers if tried the boys could have faced life with a chance for parole.

“I think justice was served. We didn't have to take them to trial and I think all in all we did alright for everyone,” said Chris Osborne, the attorney for Jones.

Wilding's mother, sister, and widow all spoke in court before sentencing, with his mother saying to the defendants, “You didn't just destroy his future. You destroyed all of ours."

His mother described being with him when he died saying, “forthe last time I put my arms around my son and held my beautiful boy.”

Scranton Police Chief Carl Graziano believes Officer Wilding would have been happy with the plea agreement since as a patrolman, he was an advocate of rehabilitation rather than incarceration.

“I think if things worked differently and John had been the arresting officer on the robbery charge. I think that he would have been an advocate for them to have the ability to change,” said Chief Graziano.

The district attorney’s office says the teens were taken back to their cells at the Lackawanna County Prison but will eventually be transferred to the state prison system.

54 comments

  • Hairy Mallory

    A Miscarriage of justice you say? Not really, this needs to happen more often and with greater severity. It Will help others think twice

  • chevellesss7

    This is why we have such a high recidivism Rate here! Using a Bureau of Justice Statistic study finding inmates released from state prisons have a five-year recidivism rate of 76.6%

  • chevellesss7

    Whatever they were, or are, hoodlums, etc, taking their lives away like this for that reason is insane and will only serve to send them into a broken system that fosters more abuse and for them to come out in 18 years with no life, no job, no prospects a record for life that prevents them from any real jobs, for anything but more crime! If the judge wanted to change them he should have sent them to the military! Mandatory 6 years, something that could change their lives and the path they have chosen! This just furthers that path!

    • JP

      Come out with no jobs? If they were working , like I was when I was 16 , and not committing armed robbery which is a CRIME they wouldn’t be in this situation. They got what they deserved.

    • El Ma

      Send them into the military and give them loaded firearms and license to kill? Absolutely. That would have knocked the psychopathic tendencies RIGHT out of them. Nothing like a little live combat action to act-out every murderous whim that these thugs ever conceived in their empty heads. Yep. Lock ’em and load ’em!

      You whine, moan, groan, and gnash your teeth as if these young men were somehow not responsible for their own actions – that they were propelled into a life of crime by “white privilege” and racism. That these young men are “good boys” – altar boys gone astray. We’re not talking about snatching a purse – armed robbery has always resulted in hard time, if found guilty. This is the most odious argument of all because it offers a blanket excuse that, because of one’s skin color, a person may commit any crime that they wish and lay the responsibility onto the shoulders of others. Do you have any idea how rank that sounds to other people of color who do NOT espouse these outrageous excuses?

      These young men had a rap sheet – each of them. They were charged and indicted on the crimes that they committed, but their past criminal activities played a HUGE role in their sentencing which was a PLEA AGREEMENT, you hopeless fool.

      And, dichead, I know about legalese for reasons that are very unpleasant in having been involved in the juvenile legal system with one of my own children. SO…………stfu and do something productive.

    • Robert

      I think the military is out of the question. Would not want to see these 3 educated in close quarters combat, choke points, kill zones, skilled in small arms and communications. Many gangs are already sending their members into the military to receive just that training. Many gangs were tagging in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. As far as Jail not a perfect solution, give me a better idea. But, I don’t want these morally bankrupt individuals moving near me or you.

  • Frank

    I think it’s an insane abuse of power. They didn’t kill him. Nor could they have foreseen his death. People get charges with depraved indifference (thank you Law and Order) when their actions are so negligent that they could have known a death might occur. This is not that. Crazy
    None of them actually caused his death! Running away is not causing a death! Had one of them fired a gun that killed someone even inadvertently, yes, had they driven off in the SUV and hit him or someone else, Yes, him jumping to his own death, so ridiculous already! No way a Jury of 12 would have convicted! It only takes one, they got terrible legal advice because people wanted REVENGE!

    • El Ma

      Were you present when this whole thing unfolded, FRANK? Did you know these poor and misunderstood little boys? Were you in the courtroom as they pleaded guilty to the crimes for which they were sentenced? If not, type on a different subject that you have some experience with instead of inventing scenarios and conspiracies inside your head. Unless you’ve been involved in any criminal legal situation, you have no frame of reference.

    • Robert

      Of course people want revenge, that’s why we have law. Even those who commit vile acts like these three did are protected by law. Its a double edged sword I would agree. But, without it chaos would rage and none would be safe. If you disagree become involved beyond posting uniformed opinion in a comment section. You seem frustrated that they are held accountable for the officers death, I’m no less frustrated that the penalty was so merciful.

      • Me

        The sentence was a gift. They should be in jail for 40 years with all the crimes they committed in such a brief timeframe and we are still hearing whimpers of racism. It’s not racism. It’s realism and yes they really are responsible for the officers death. Period.

      • El Ma

        Justice is not “revenge.” The plea deal that these young men agreed to is not something that was invented for them. This is jurisprudence and those fools should be grateful that they didn’t commit a crime in another country or they would have had their heads neatly separated from their shoulders while kneeling in the dirt.

    • mopar driver

      Actually , He died during a felony being committed by these three , and directly because of it . The shame is the light sentence for the pile of felonies and death they caused in only one day of their criminal lives .

  • chevellesss7

    So by your logic,if you’re speeding on a highway and a state trooper pulls out to chase you without looking 1st and hits another car killing the driver, you get 9 to 18 years in jail for murder??? Some idiot here please explain that logic! Or does it only work if some tractor trailer hits the cops car killing him? How does this work in your world???

    I get the outrage of them being punks, of what they did before, etc, but no one caused the cop to die but the cop, and his bad choice!

    • Franken Stein

      If a felony is the cause for the pursuit then murder charges are attached. Speeding isnt a felony. If you cant do the time, dont do the crime they say. Or in their case multiple crimes. No way was this their first evening of pulling heists at the level they were operating at imo.

  • Me

    Based on the psychiatrist report The Nasiir kid is beyond rehabilitation….he’s more than likely not only gonna spend the entire 18 years in jail, but accumulate more time while there. If he makes it out he won’t be out long. The Edwards kid is the only one of them that really deserved consideration. His mother abandoned him and he had no place else to go, that how he got tangled up w the other two. You can tell just by how he carrys himself that different than the other two.

  • Gopher Grace

    Will there be additional time for stealing the SUV and shoving a shotgun in a poor guy’s face and robbing him? I dont want them back in the neighborhood in a couple more years. Scary

  • Fred

    I think all of the cops should just look the other way, and only enforce the laws that dont offend the protected classes of society.

  • Robert

    This death is a result of the actions of the young adults. The fall suffered was while in pursuit of suspected (now convicted) criminals and were held responsible for the consequences of their actions. The Freddy Gray case was bungled by politically motivated Marilyn Mosby. I don’t see the hypocrisy here. The hypocrisy I see is elected officials of government (local or state) making law that when enforced by police results in unwanted outcomes then blame the police. My example of this is Eric Garner who basically died while resisting arrest for selling untaxed cigarettes in New York City. New York obviously takes their taxes very seriously! Chasing down a person for turning the other way when making eye contact with police is just as ridicules, yet common practice in many localities and sanctioned by our elected officials. That is until the outcome is unwanted then they deflect blame upon police. We are being split by two faced politicians who will deflect and distract. Our problem is not police. You can hire/fire/train them. The problem is educated well intentioned persons being distracted from the truths by elected officials who need your vote and will tell you what you want to hear in order to get it. Now do I think there are bad cops? Yup! Should they be held responsible? Absolutely, and in cases of public betrayal just like politicians more so! But, this racial narrative needs to go away and I don’t think the position your taking on this is helped including it. BTW when I started my response you were the first CHEVELLESSS7

  • donald t

    The family is swimming in money after all the benefits and money paid to them, im sure there not hurting.

  • Dhyana

    Race and social status undeniably played a role in the railroading of these teens; certainly in Scranton if they had the right last names they would be free of charge, but more disturbing is the history of Scranton’s judicial abuse and unwavering punishment of their youth. I agree with Chevellesss7 especially in this idea that putting a badge on eliminates all possibility of wrong-doing and makes ones life so valuable that 3 teens must now sacrifice their lives because the officer made a deadly mistake. If anyone is to blame for the death of the officer maybe it should be the academy that failed to train the officer properly!

    • Mind blown

      Ya not the 3 shitheads he was chasing after because they were breaking the law!! Go crawl in hole people like you are disgusting!!!

      • Dhyana

        I detest people with no compassion for youth making mistakes! so to me–YOU ARE DISGUSTING. Just because your kids are shitheads doesn’t mean all kids are shitheads…wish for yours the outcome you wish for these!

      • Mind blown

        If you only knew!!! You have no idea how I feel about youth making mistakes. But here’s the facts they broke the law and a police officer is now dead because he was doing his job! My kids? Lol!! Let’s see how much lower you can go?!

      • Ham Salad Hoagie

        And I detest people who are incapable of formulating an objective opinion based upon fact rather than spew forth empty word salad slogans to fill the world with their race based vomitus.

    • Lance

      You would be the first crying for justice if you were the victim of a crime.who would you go to? If not the police who? BLM or ANTIFA? Those are just racists or anarchists. They don’t care about you or anyone just their warped agenda. Protests won’t stop crime but men and women in uniform with a badge are the only way we have a community. So before you blame the cop for running after the criminals. Ask yourself why were these three committing the crime? It isnt white privilege or no access to education. But a lack of moral consideration for anyone but themselves.

      • Dhyana

        Check your thinking! I didn’t blame the cop…stop being such a racist and get real about the issue here. Would you even say that if all the kids were white? Who’s talking about BLM or whatever the hell is ANTIFA?? Tell me Lance, what was the crime that the kids committed?? they certainly did not push the cop to his death–but idiots like you think the kids should die too, right? Where’s your moral consideration? Wish for your own kids what you wish for these kids…and worry then who’ll be the first crying!

      • Who's Yer Daddy

        you people and i don’t have to explain what i mean by YOU PEOPLE. i won’t check privilege, thinking, or pronouns. these thugs committed numerous crimes and they weren’t trying to get into a fraternity while they were breaking the law. all of YOU PEOPLE are creating a social paradigm that is going to collapse and it wont be long before your buses full of SOROS rioters are met with ranks of paid peace officers and turned back. bring it on because its about time that this terrorist bullshit was ended.

      • Ham Salad Hoagie

        Check your own thinking because it is altogether flawed and is only simple regurgitation of indoctrinated phraseology.

    • Lance

      I never said the kids should die. And you are playing the race card. You blame the police for training. You can’t train for an accident. But no one made these three commit a crime. That cop would be alive if those three worked for a living instead of an easy way out. If you were drunk and driving you would be responsible if you hurt someone. You didnt mean to but your actions still caused injury and you would be held accountable. So these three are the idiots as well as those who support their actions . 9 years is nothing for a life lost. You seem to forget cops are people. Their families deserve justice.

    • Canyon

      If these three individuals had stayed at home that night and played video games then that officer would still be at work and his family would have their son. It is you that was incorrectly trained!

    • Me

      The only railroading that went on in this situation is when they stuck that gun in that mans face while committing an armed robbery. If anything, they railroaded themselves…..right into jail. Clink.

      • Dhyana

        People “hate” what they fear…and when they are afraid they can’t reason…so I get it mopar, for you this isn’t about teens being charged for something they did not do…this is about “major” punishment so you won’t be afraid.

      • El Ma

        DHYANA, do you really believe the things that you type, or are you an internet troll? It is incomprehensible to me that you, or anyone else, would even remotely suggest that these young men dindu nuffin. They PLEADED OUT, you misguided, ill-educated nutcase! That’s it. There’s no conspiracy, here, or “fear” tactics.

        People across the boards are finding these “racist” rants to be tedious and unproductive. They only serve to widen the chasm. I know many, many people of color who abhor YOUR type of thinking – it repulses them because it is intended to misinform them, keep them in the circle of poverty and excuses, and disallows any sort of true self-esteem.

        If you actually believe the things that you are typing, shame on you. SHAME on you.

  • chevellesss7

    While it is terrible that this officer died, and these young adults are obviously on the wrong road and did wrong, they should not have to serve a 9-18 years sentence because the officer dove over a bush and hit his head! I sympathize with the family, but people who say hang them and they deserve it or worse, are ridiculous! Putting on a badge shouldn’t increase your value over everyday Americans nor should it give you some superstatus that alows you to be judge and jury! This is why we have division in America! This is why we have BLM in America! It’s White and Blue privilege that prevails over everyone else! They were wrong, yes, they were hoodlums, yes, but they did not kill this officer, jumping without looking did!
    If you want to argue this point, explain to me how 3 youths do possibly 20 years for this and yet 6 cops broke Freddy grey’s neck, severed his spinal cord over 80% and they walked away and went home without any repercussions at all! A little hypocritical isn’t it? Especially since Freddy Grey, a black youth, was simply walking through an alley, did nothing wrong or illegal and just turned the other direction when he saw the police and they hunted him down and beat him to death! No drugs, no weapons, no reason! THIS IS WHITE AND BLUE-LINE PRIVILEGE IN AMERICA!
    THIS IS WHAT IS WRONG IN AMERICA!

      • chevellesss7

        If your aunt had balls she would be your uncle, but unless she pushed someone off a cliff, or shot them, she wouldn’t be guilty of their death because they fell or jumped without looking 1st!

    • Robert

      What is wrong with America is things are too easy for a vast majority and exploited by a very rich vocal minority. Color plays no part in this. I caution against painting the civic issues at hand with such a “broad brush” that I refer to now as a “war brush”. In October of 1990 after finish a 4 mile run in under 28 minutes me and a few buds sat down for some bacon and eggs with toast. We were anticipating with drool not the bacon but the demise of Iraqi soldiers in mass. It was so easy to paint every Iraqi as a human not worthy of life. 72 hours after Feb 24, 1991 a lot of things changed for me. I didn’t and still don’t object to war, no I don’t suffer PTSD. I have no regrets, but I will tell you one truth….dead bodies have no color! Its cool to imagine smiting what you perceive as evil or unworthy of life, its another to see it and know you were a participant in conduct that strips the façade of humanity away leaving you naked before the truth.
      Choose wisely the brush you take to canvas.

    • Please Get A Clue

      Cluelessss7, their criminal actions were directly responsible for his death. It’s not a difficult concept to understand.
      Still whining about the heroin dealer who died by falling in the back of the police transport? Maybe you missed the fact that those prosecutions were political and had no basis in fact? Old news Cluelesss7.

    • El Ma

      CHEVELLESSS7, these young men made a choice to break several laws and then run. Their attorneys advised them to plead out because the evidence was most likely overwhelming and a juried trial would have resulted in MORE TIME, you fool. These THUGS were thoroughly advised of the ramifications of trial-by-jury vs pleading out, and the defendants were thoroughly informed of what they were pleading TO. “I’m guilty,” does NOT translate into, “I’m innocent,” by any stretch of the imagination unless a person is schizophrenic.

      These thug men are going to pay for their stupidity. That’s it. And, I would say the exact same thing if it had been 3 Lithuanian teens involved. RACE IS NOT THE ISSUE. The issue is that people who want the “Thug Life” end up paying the “Thug Price.” Now, they get to understand what the baggy pants and ugly-as-sin rubber flip-flops really mean. Now, these thugs-in-training will receive the benefit of the full Thug-ucation.

      Pander your racist nonsense elsewhere. I’ll type this here, and I’d say it to your faces, without batting an eye. I feel no “white guilt” nor do I experience “white privilege.” I’ve never owned a slave, in my lifetime. And, I have had to work HARD for everything that I have. So………….bugger-off.

      • Me

        Well said….it’s more than white guilt they are trying to instill…..it’s white shame. They want us all to be ashamed of ourselves so they can run over and get over on us with little resistance. True that.

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