Court Briefs


Arson charge withdrawn

against Newport Twp. man

WILKES-BARRE — Luzerne County prosecutors withdrew an arson charge against Corey Eckrote, 53, and instead filed a criminal mischief count against him Friday.

Eckrote, who is on parole for his son’s accidental death, was initially charged by Newport Township police with arson, risking a catastrophe and possession of drug paraphernalia after township firefighters were called to a brush fire in the area of 100 Brown Row on March 26. Eckrote allegedly told police Chief Jeremy Blank he started the fire to clear brush.

Blank says he found a green cut straw and a white powdery substance in Eckrote’s back pocket, which Eckrote claimed to be his prescription Percocet.

At a preliminary hearing Friday, prosecutors withdrew the arson charge and added a criminal mischief that Eckrote will now face in county court.

Prosecutors also withdrew the risking a catastrophe and drug paraphernalia counts.

Eckrote was found guilty in 2015 for the 2014 death of his 2 1/2-month-old son, Jaxon.

Jaxon suffocated after becoming trapped overnight in a recliner while Eckrote went out to a bar. The infant’s mother, Tracy Ann Gonda, was not to be left alone with the child due to an addiction.

Eckrote was sentenced to two to six years in state prison on charges of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment. He was paroled Nov. 4, according to the state Department of Corrections.

Rape, endangerment charges withdrawn

WILKES-BARRE — Prosecutors withdrew child-rape charges against Anthony Dupak Jr., 27, and endangerment charges against Rainie Sherr, 48, at their preliminary hearings in Luzerne County Central Court on Friday.

Dupak was accused of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl inside a Scott Street, Wilkes-Barre, residence Nov. 3.

Police said the girl told a forensic interviewer that Dupak sexually assaulted her in his bedroom while watching a movie. She claimed Sherr appeared in Dupak’s bedroom asking if he wanted coffee as she laid under bed covers.

Sherr allegedly told police she did not hear anything unusual and did not believe the girl was telling the truth.

Prosecutors withdrew charges of child rape, indecent assault, corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children against Dupak.

Sherr saw the following counts withdrawn: endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors, intimidation of a victim and obstruction of justice.