Prison Inmate Found Guilty of Conspiracy to Threaten Witness
HARRISBURG—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a federal jury in Harrisburg today found Nicholas I. Stanisha, age 45, an Ohio prison inmate, guilty of conspiracy to transmit a threat to injure a central Pennsylvania witness who had testified against him. The case was tried before U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones, III. Sentencing is deferred pending the preparation of a presentence report.
Co-defendants Marcia J. Weber, age 46, of Loveland, Ohio, and Martin Jay Wilson, age 43, of Kansas City, Missouri, both pled guilty to the conspiracy in April 2015. Jody Six, age 40 and Anthony Vaughn, age 41, both Ohio inmates, pled guilty to the conspiracy in July 2015. Sentencing dates have not been scheduled.
According to U.S. Attorney Peter Smith, the evidence presented by Assistant United States Attorney Daryl Bloom at the three-day trial established that Stanishia, while serving a sentence of life imprisonment plus 23 years at the Southeastern Correctional Institution in Lancaster, Ohio, for a murder conviction, developed an intimate relationship with clinical psychologist Marcia Weber who helped orchestrate Stanishia’s release from prison by attempting to get the sole witness who identified Stanishia at his Ohio murder trial to recant his trial testimony.
The surviving witness was also shot during the murder but was able to flee. Staniahia was able to escape and was captured three years later and tried for the murder. Stanishia was also convicted of a rape and burglary committed while on the run. He was sentenced to 54 years’ imprisonment for this offense.
Stanishia and Weber met in an Ohio correctional facility where he was participating in a work release program. Weber hired a private investigator to help obtain information about the witness, including where he and his wife lived, where he worked, and information about his children and other immediate family. Stanishia and Weber then hired Wilson to travel from Missouri to Pennsylvania, where Wilson rented a car, drove to the witness’s house near Harrisburg and placed a gas can filled with water at the witness’s porch.
Stanishia, with the help of Six and Vaughn—both other inmates—used a smuggled-in cellular telephone to contact the witness to get the victim/witness to sign an affidavit prepared by Stanishia. Stanishia stated in the call that the next time the gas can would not be filled with water. Stanishia referenced the gas can as a message to the victim conveying his ability to reach the witness even while imprisoned in Ohio. Stanishia used the address of the victim’s sister on the envelope that contained the mailed affidavit and mentioned the victim’s wife by name during the call to show his extensive knowledge of the victim and his family. In addition, during the call Stanishia claimed to be a high ranking member of the Aryan Brotherhood and that his release was being orchestrated by the Aryan Brotherhood. The contacts with the witness were subsequently reported to law enforcement agencies. Many of the phone calls were recorded at the prison and played during the trial.
Stanishia testified on his own behalf at the trial, admitting that he participated in the scheme but denying that he actually intended to threaten the witness. The jury found him guilty of all three charges in the Indictment.
This case was a collaborative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Field Offices in Philadelphia (Harrisburg RA), Cincinnati, and Columbus, Ohio, the Hampden Township Police Department, the Lower Paxton Police Department, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, and Investigators from the Southeastern Correctional Institution in Ohio.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daryl F. Bloom.