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Fayette inmate gets up to 4 years for sending threatening letters

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Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Fayette County man who sent letters from prison threatening to blow up the courthouse and kill a crime victim, a judge and the district attorney was sentenced to up to four years in prison.

As part of a plea bargain, Robert Ray Shaner, 34, formerly of Mt. Braddock, on Monday entered guilty pleas to four counts of harassment by communication, said his attorney, Dianne Zerega of Uniontown.

Senior Judge William Ober sentenced Shaner to 16 to 48 months in prison, Zerega said, as per terms of the plea bargain.

Shaner, who already is serving up to 20 years in prison for attempted rape, was charged in 2011 with four counts of harassment. In a criminal complaint, Trooper James Pierce said Shaner was an inmate at State Correctional Institution-Retreat in Hunlock Creek, Luzerne County, when he allegedly mailed the threatening letters to then-Judge Ralph Warman and District Attorney Jack Heneks.

Warman in 1998 sentenced Shaner to six to 20 years in prison after Shaner pleaded guilty to attempted rape, attempted involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, robbery and unlawful restraint.

The first threatening letter, postmarked Aug. 22, was sent to Warman. Shaner threatened to tie up the judge, cut him, hold his family hostage and set their house on fire, the complaint said.

Shaner indicated that upon his parole, he planned to blow up the Fayette courthouse and the state police barracks near Uniontown because he “wants to kill everyone who made him suffer for all the years he‘s been incarcerated,” according to the complaint.

The second letter was sent to Heneks at his courthouse office. In it, Shaner threatened to “kill everyone in the D.A.'s office” and the victim by “cutting her throat and kill(ing) her family by setting them on fire.”

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or

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