CLEARFIELD – A former state prison guard found guilty of aggravated assault was sentenced to state prison on Tuesday.
Michael David Guelich, 40, of Curwensville was found guilty of nine counts of recklessly endangering another person and eight counts of aggravated assault, which stem from an Oct. 10, 2009 domestic dispute that eventually involved a gun that he fired at his residence, before he fled and ran three state police patrol vehicles off the roadway.
The Honorable Judge Paul E. Cherry sentenced Guelich to 30 months to 10 years at a state correctional institution on two counts of aggravated assault and three counts of recklessly endangering another person. He is to refrain from alcohol and not to enter an establishment that primarily sells alcohol. He is to have no contact with the victims and to pay for DNA testing. On six counts of aggravated assault and six counts of recklessly endangering another person, he was sentenced to six months to two years on each count, to run concurrent to each and to the above sentence.
Prior to sentencing three people spoke on Guelich’s behalf; his wife Janelle Guelich, current employer Sam Scribe and former co-worker and friend Barry Smith.
Scribe described Guelich as, “An attribute to Clearfield County.” He stated that Guelich is a model employee as a safety instructor, and that he helped to increase his company’s business. He also touched on Guelich’s role as a family man, saying that his wife and kids come first.
“We’re asking for lenience today,” said Scribe.
Smith called Guelich a superior father and a superior person.
Janelle Guelich stated that her husband has made many changes in his life in the last two years. She said Guelich has undergone counseling and she promised the judge would never see him in the courtroom again.
“Please find leniency in your heart,” she asked.
Guelich also addressed the court.
“I have changed a lot.”
He also apologized to the victims in the case and asked for leniency so that he could continue to provide for his family.
Defense attorney Chris Pentz said the case was unique, and, contrary to the commonwealth’s assertion, it was not a case of rage, but one that involved beer and whiskey.
“It’s a unique set of circumstances,” argued Pentz.
He pointed to what Guelich has already lost, or might lose: a 14-year career as a corrections officer and probably a 19-year career in the military and most likely his retirement for not being able to complete his twentieth year. Pentz stated he did not want to see Guelich lose his ability to provide for his family. He also indicated that a state facility would not be a good fit for the former CO. He also pointed out that Guelich lost his ability to hunt, as well as the opportunity to be a coach.
Cherry then addressed Guelich.
“Mr. Guelich … You ought to be ashamed of yourself,” said Cherry. “Because of your acts of poor judgment, you’re here today.
“All you had to do was put the gun down.”
Cherry stated that he had no doubt that Guelich was a great father and a loving and caring husband, as well as an asset to his community, but also said, “What you’ve done to your family is reprehensible.”
He said what bothered him was that someone of Guelich’s background would resort to something like this.
“I don’t believe it was as simple as you described it,” Cherry told Pentz.
Cherry stated that alcohol was a factor, but that he also believed rage to be a factor as well.
“You’ve put yourself here today.”