Saturday, July 26, 2014

Trooper to faces charges in court

March 27. 2013 11:28PM

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WEST PITTSTON — State police Trooper Carrie Gula will see the inside of a Luzerne County courtroom as a defendant.

Charged with unlawfully accessing her then-boyfriend’s cellphone account and filing a false report that he assaulted her, Gula, 35, of West Pittston, remained unfazed by testimony presented during her preliminary hearing on Wednesday.

Gula frequently smiled and whispered to her attorney, Joseph Nocito, during the three-hour proceeding before District Judge Joseph Carmody.

State police at Wyoming alleged Gula accessed the Verizon cellphone account of Eric Thomas on Aug. 1 and changed its password. While stationed at the state police barracks at Fern Ridge, she left work early that day and went to Thomas’ residence in Exeter, where, she said, Thomas assaulted her while she was in uniform.

Trooper Lisa Brogan testified she found discrepancies with Gula’s statement, noting that a mirror and a chair Gulas said were broken during a struggle with Thomas were not smashed.

Thomas testified he was taking a shower when he noticed someone was in his house. He said he spotted Gula leaving his house with his cellphone under her arm. He said she kicked and shoved him, causing him to fall over a chair.

Most of the testimony focused on the number of times Thomas’ cellphone account was accessed.

Trooper Mark Mackachinas said the password was changed at 9:39 a.m. Aug. 1 and he traced that to Gula. Thomas changed the password at 7:46 p.m.

Mackachinas said there were several failed attempts to access Thomas’ cellphone account from 7:46 p.m. — the same time Thomas changed the password — to 10:09 p.m., when the password was reset, which was traced to Gula’s cellphone, Mackachinas said.

Nocito said simply logging onto the account was not criminal because Gula did not have intent to harm Thomas.

“Just logging on is not criminal,” Nocito said. “He is the only one who has access to the account. She no longer had access to the account because he changed the password.”

“She had no permission to change his account,” Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Reimiller said. “She interrupted his service with his Verizon account.”

Gula remains suspended without pay from the state police. She remains free on $7,500 unsecured bail.

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