2010-12-09 / Front Page

Pa. Man Sentenced In ’08 Case

David Stauffer escaped forest rangers, conned woman into driving him back to York County
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

A York County man with an extensive criminal background spanning several states had his day in the Fulton County Court of Common Pleas on Tuesday for a case dating back to 2008 when he escaped local law enforcement authorities and then persuaded an elderly woman to drive him home.

Fifty-seven-year-old David Louis Stauffer, currently housed in the York County Prison, was ordered by Judge Angela Rosenberry Krom to complete between nine and 24 months in a state correctional institution (SCI) for resisting arrest by Buchanan State Forest Ranger Greg Eitner in early July 2008.

Even though Stauffer was granted 47 days credit for time previously served, his Fulton County sentence will begin effective Tuesday and run simultaneously with a sentence previously imposed in York County.

For an additional count of providing false reports/identification to law enforcement officials, Stauffer will spend an additional six to 12 months in a SCI. The sentence will begin at the expiration of the local sentence imposed for resisting arrest.

Tuesday’s sentence ordered by Judge Krom was a longtime coming for Stauffer, who was initially observed camping in the state forest just before midnight along Summit Road Wells Township. Stauffer was confronted by the forest ranger about possessing necessary camping permit information prompting Stauffer to provide false identification.

At the time, Stauffer was a fugitive from justice on a parole violation and had been on the lam since January 29, 2001.

According to reports, the forest ranger attempted to place Stauffer into custody, but the fugitive struggled and freed himself in spite of being doused with pepper spray. He took off through the brush wearing a grey t-shirt, grey shorts and one flip-flop.

The following day, Stauffer was spotted on foot near the intersection of North Hess Road and Mountain House Road at a construction zone. A search by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Pennsylvania State Police from the McConnellsburg barracks proved futile. Aiding in the search was a tracking dog from Mifflin County and the state police helicopter.

Follow-up reports by state police revealed an elderly woman from the Hustontown area, who was unfamiliar with Stauffer and his fugitive status, drove the man back to York County at his request. Confused as to her whereabouts and how to get home, her journey ended in Harrisburg.

Stauffer’s first brush with the law appears to have begun in 1987 and continued for more than a decade, with charges filed in York and Clearfield counties ranging from driving under the influence, forgery, fleeing or attempting to elude police and resisting arrest to harassment, aggravated assault and disorderly conduct.

By his own admission in court this week, Stauffer has had criminal convictions in the states of Delaware, West Virginia and Florida. He went on to contest the accuracy of court documents as well as his prior record score calculated on the severity of past convictions. Stauffer claimed the majority of cases against him involved drinking but nothing violent or drug related.

When asked by the court if he had taken time to calculate Stauffer’s prior record score, Fulton County District Attorney Travis Kendall admitted calculation of the score due to the large number of offenses was “above his head.”

Talkative during court proceedings, Stauffer also asked Judge Krom if she believed he had a bad record. The judge confirmed Stauffer did have a bad record.

Stauffer had previously been represented in court by Fulton County Public Defender Tamela Bard, who aided Stauffer since his preliminary hearing held on February 9, 2009, through January 29, 2010. At the defendant’s request for new counsel, the court appointed defense attorney Dwight Harvey.

Initially charged with aggravated assault, escape, resisting arrest, false identification, disorderly conduct and violation of rules on commonwealth property, Stauffer has been granted multiple continuances before he finally entered a plea of guilty to resisting arrest and false identification on October 12, 2010.

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