MARIETTA - A Marietta man was sentenced Wednesday in Washington County Common Pleas Court for a Sept. 6 incident at Marietta High School where he threatened a 14-year-old female student with knives in an attempt to get a date.
Darren C. Farnese, 18, of 121 Muskingum Drive, was originally charged with a fourth-degree felony count of menacing by stalking and a fifth-degree felony count of illegal conveyance or possession of a deadly weapon in a school or safety zone.
On Nov. 1, he pleaded guilty to the fourth-degree felony and the stalking charge was dismissed.
Farnese had met the victim through a mutual acquaintance several weeks prior to the offense at the school, said Marietta Police Department patrolman Pat Gragan at the time of the arrest.
Marietta Police Capt. Jeff Waite said Farnese had been stalking the girl since the Washington County Fair, which took place the weekend prior to the occurrence at MHS.
After Farnese threatened the girl if she wouldn't go out with him, police said, he fled the high school premises. Officers apprehended him later that day on a stolen bicycle and found three knives in his possession.
Farnese's lawyer, public defender Shoshanna Brooker, said Farnese has been struggling to adjust to adulthood since he turned 18 in July and was taken out of foster care.
"He's had a very hard time figuring out where his place is, kind of being booted out of the system after that's all he's known," she said.
Farnese has no prior adult felony record, said Brooker.
Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane questioned a breaking and entering charge in 2007 and a theft charge in 2012.
However, the first was a juvenile charge and the theft charge, which was related to the Sept. 6 event, had already been resolved in Marietta Municipal Court, said Brooker.
Farnese was hopeful that he could make changes and get his life on the right track, she said. Specifically, people have offered to help Farnese find employment once released, said Brooker.
"I have an ex-probation officer that's helping me with stuff when I get released. He told me to contact him when I got out and he would take me around town and help me," said Farnese.
He also expressed remorse for his actions.
"I just apologize for what I did. I know it was wrong," he said.
Brooker requested that Farnese be given community control and that he be sentenced to 90 days in the Washington County Jail with credit for time served. Farnese has been incarcerated since the incident and has served 84 days, she said.
"Putting him on community control with a probation officer- that can set him up with some guidance and help him get on track now that adulthood has set in," she said.
Lane sentenced Farnese to five years of community control sanctions. He ordered him to take the next available bed at the SEPTA Correctional Facility.
"I'm not imposing any additional jail time except that you just be held there and take the first bed available at SEPTA. I believe that could happen this week," said Lane.
Prosecuting attorney Alison Cauthorn requested an additional stipulation.
"I would request ...that he have no contact with the original victim in this case and not have any contact with her residential premises or her family," said Cauthorn.
Farnese assured Lane that he would have no problem following that provision.
Farnese could have received a maximum of six months in the county jail in addition to his five years of community control.
The SEPTA center offers a 90-day and a 150-day track. SETPA officials will determine upon Farnese's arrival which track he will take, said Lane.