HOLLIDAYSBURG - A Bedford County teen less than two months past his 18th birthday was sentenced Monday to a state correctional institution for robbing a Sheetz store in Tyrone.
Blair County District Attorney Richard A. Consiglio suggested the youth be sent to the State Correctional Institution at Pine Grove in Indiana County where many teen inmates are held separately from older adults and are able to receive mental health and drug and alcohol treatment.
President Judge Jolene G. Kopriva said she cannot order placement of an inmate at a particular institution but instead is required to sentence the young man to the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill.
After classification, the Department of Corrections will assign him to an SCI.
The teen, Leslie Ray Hoover, was sentenced to 15-30 months for robbery with an immediate threat of serious bodily harm
On April 19, Hoover entered the store at 1400 Logan Ave., Tyrone, and went to the store's coffee pots. He then asked the clerks, "Where's your money?"
He became more insistent and, using an expletive, told a clerk he was going to kill her. He then threw pots full of hot coffee at her and jumped over the counter.
The 17-year-old pushed over the cash registers, then took three packs of cigarettes and left the store.
A Tyrone police officer took Hoover into custody several blocks from the store.
Hoover was charged as an adult, and the question that brought him before the judge Monday was whether he should be tried as an adult or juvenile.
His attorneys, Assistant Public Defenders Mike Emerick and Jason Imler, initially requested that his case be sent to the juvenile court for resolution.
Consiglio said the juvenile system has no place to put him or to provide him with treatment.
Consiglio said Hoover has been placed 25 times in various homes or institutions.
The DA said the teen was discharged from Abraxas, a western Pa. juvenile treatment center, in March.
The teen, born in Tampa, Fla., was raised by a family in Bedford County.
He said his first placement occurred when he was 13 years old.
Imler said the teen was "taking substances" that affected his behavior at the time of the robbery.
"He's very apologetic," said the assistant public defender.
The judge said she hopes his placement, possibly at Pine Grove, would help "get a better understanding of what's going on."