Delmont assault over $1 wager earns prison
A fight over a $1 billiards bet at a Delmont bar last year has resulted in an 8-year prison sentence for the man convicted in the assault.
Joseph Vangoethem, 32, formerly of Philadelphia, told a Westmoreland County judge on Friday he never intended to hurt his victim but that his actions that day stemmed from years of living on the streets and fearing for his life during previous prison stints.
“I'm 32 years old, and I've lived every day in fear. I should have walked away, but I'm not wired that way,” Vangoethem said.
Judge John E. Blahovec sentenced Vangoethem to serve 4 to 8 years in prison for the October 2012 aggravated assault of 53-year-old Joseph Weinstein at Carney's Corner.
Weinstein claimed he and Vangoethem were playing pool when a dispute arose over whether they were wagering on the game.
At trial last summer, Weinstein said there was no bet and he pocketed a $1 dollar bill he placed on the billiard table rail after Vangoethem sank a shot.
Police said Vangoethem hit Weinstein with a pool stick, struck him with a chair and kicked him three times in the head. Blahovec, having seen a security video of the assault, convicted Vangoethem following a nonjury trial.
Vangoethem was convicted of an escape charge, too, for walking away from Delmont police as they investigated the case. Vangoethem was handcuffed and placed in a police cruiser .
Blahovec on Friday imposed a sentence that mirrored the terms of a plea bargain rejected by Vangoethem before the trial.
“He was a defenseless victim, and you could've killed him,” Blahovec said. “I believe the original recommendation makes sense in this case.”
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.