WILKES-BARRE — Eleven years ago, Luzerne County Judge Joseph Augello gave convicted child molester Arthur Nesbitt the harshest sentence possible for sexually abusing four children, starting in the 1980s.
On Thursday, Augello rejected a request by the sexually violent predator for a new trial.
“I can’t say I’m sorry for something I didn’t do,” Nesbitt said at sentencing before Augello on Jan. 28, 2003, when the judge sent Nesbitt to prison for 29 1/2 to 118 years.
According to a Times Leader report from that day, the former Wilkes-Barre resident also complained about representation by his court-appointed attorney, Patrick Flannery.
Now 58 and incarcerated at SCI-Rockview in Centre County, Nesbitt still claims ineffective counsel, according to the appeal document he filed in April.
A county jury in October 2002 found Nesbitt guilty of four counts each of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and sexual abuse of children and one count each of corruption of a minor and endangering the welfare of children.
Police said they learned of the abuse, which started in the mid-1980s, in the early 2000s, when one of the victims, then 21, came forward.
In handing down the sentence, Augello cited Nesbitt’s lack of remorse and the belief that Nesbitt remained a danger to children. Augello also determined Nesbitt to be a sexually violent predator under Megan’s Law.
In his request for a new trial and evidentiary hearing, Nesbitt claimed:
• Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to provide the commonwealth with a written notice of alibi defense.
• Trial counsel was ineffective “for not protecting defendant from deceitful prosecution because defendant is hearing-impaired and did not have use of hearing aids at trial.”
• He was convicted without any medical or DNA evidence, and Nesbitt argues that a circumstantial evidence conviction “based wholly on inferences, suspicion and conjecture” cannot stand, basing his argument on case law.
• Trial counsel didn’t check to see if any of the charges should merge for sentencing purposes.
Augello ordered Nesbitt’s petition denied and dismissed, informing him that he 30 days to appeal the dismissal.