Hazleton man found guilty of threats against Luzerne County DA

By Patrick Kernan - [email protected]

A former Hazleton mayoral candidate has been found guilty of making terroristic threats against the Luzerne County district attorney.

In a trial July 10 in Northampton County Court, Sean M. Donahue, 48, was found guilty of making threats in an email sent to District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis.

Donahue sent the email to Salavantis in 2012, making reference to gunfire and a firing squad, and threatening to physically harm people if some of his demands were not met.

“Give me Liberty or Give me Death, but not necessarily my own,” Donahue’s email stated, court records show.

The jury deliberated for 30 minutes before finding Donahue guilty. Bail was continued, and sentencing will be held at a later date.

Donahue’s guilty verdict has been a long time coming. He was initially charged with making terroristic threats and harassment. But that case was dismissed in 2013.

In 2015, the Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld the dismissal of the harassment charges, but reinstated the threats count on appeal from the Commonwealth.

Hazleton Police Chief Jerry Speziale praised the guilty verdict in a press release.

“Threats and retaliation against public officials for past official actions can never be tolerated in a free and open democratic society governed by the rule of law,” said the chief.

The trial was held in Northampton County after Donahue requested and won a change of venue.


By Patrick Kernan

[email protected]

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6119 or on Twitter @PatKernan

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6119 or on Twitter @PatKernan