HOLLIDAYSBURG - An area man charged with spitting on a confidential informant in a drug case involving his brother was sentenced Friday to 30 months' probation.
Blair County Judge Elizabeth Doyle also ordered Guy Arlington Gray, 27, to undergo a mental health evaluation.
The guilty plea and sentence were almost scuttled when Gray filled out a required form but did not admit committing the acts for which he was charged. The judge told Gray and his attorney, Steven Passarello, if suspects assert their innocence, the court cannot accept the plea.
Often people who enter guilty pleas are not happy with what they are doing, yet the plea moves forward, Doyle said.
It is a different story however when some asserts "absolute innocence," said Doyle.
The judge gave Gray and his attorney time to discuss the case, and after several minutes, Gray decided to accept the plea agreement under which he would receive probation instead of jail time.
Gray was arrested Dec. 14 when he appeared at a preliminary hearing for his brother, Dwight Gray, 28, at Central Court.
According to a police affidavit, a witness called Altoona Detective Sgt. Troy Johannides, a narcotics officer who also was on his way to the hearing, and informed him that Guy Gray was harassing him.
Police charged Guy Gray with name-calling, spitting on the informant and attempting to square off against the witness as if to fight him.
Johannides witnessed the events and told Guy Gray to leave Central Court. Gray replied with an obscenity, according to the police affidavit.
According to Doyle, the prosecution agreed to reduce the intimidation charge against Guy Gray from a second-degree felony to a third-degree felony. A second-degree felony called for a two- to three-year minimum jail sentence rather than for probation on the witness intimidation charge, she said.
Dwight Gray is presently serving time in the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill for drug offenses.
Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.