1 To Plead, 1 Headed To Trial For Carjacking Police Chief’s Wife

November 20, 2018
1 To Plead, 1 Headed To Trial For Carjacking Police Chief's Wife

WILKES-BARRE — One man accused of carjacking the wife of a former police chief reached a plea deal with prosecutors Tuesday, while a second defendant was ordered to stand trial.

Corey Thomas Patrick, 21, and Dametrius Cefus Laws, 23, are accused of pulling Jeanne Dessoye from her car and robbing her early the morning of April 3, 2016. Dessoye is the wife of former Wilkes-Barre Police Chief Gerard Dessoye.

In court Tuesday morning, Laws reached a plea deal calling for him to admit to felony counts of robbery of a motor vehicle and theft. He is set to appear for a dispositional hearing before Luzerne County Judge Joseph F. Sklarosky Jr. on Jan. 10.

Patrick requested a preliminary hearing, causing Jeanne Dessoye to testify that the attack took place on Diebel Street around 1:30 a.m., as she was picking her son at his friend’s home.

She went to the door of the home, leaving her 2015 Chevrolet Equinox running, and first observed her attackers as she returned to the vehicle, she said.

“I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, two figures coming down the street,” Jeanne Dessoye said.

She grew alarmed as they approached so she jumped back into the driver’s seat, but one of the men stopped her from closing the door, she said.

“One individual reached in and pulled me out of my car,” she said.

Jeanne Dessoye described struggling with one attacker while the other robber went around to the passenger side and got in that door.

“I was trying to fight him off. He overpowered me and got into the vehicle,” Jeanne Dessoye said, explaining that she fell to the ground during the struggle. “The rage in me: I couldn’t believe they were doing this, taking my vehicle.”

The robbers made off with the vehicle, her house keys and purse, said Jeanne Dessoye, who sustained cuts and bruises to her legs in the attack.

Wilkes-Barre police Detective Charles Jensen said police recovered a knife and a pair of burgundy prescription eyeglasses from the scene. Police used OnStar to track the vehicle to where it had been wrecked and abandoned on Schoolhouse Lane near Scott Street.

Because of a series of similar robberies at the time, police contacted the FBI to launch a joint operation, Jensen said. That probe revealed that the Rickey Smiley-brand eyeglass frames found at the scene are sold by America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses, whose closest location in Wilkes-Barre Twp. only sold five pairs between October 2014 and December 2015, he said.

“The only black male who purchased those frames was Corey Patrick,” Jensen said.

The glasses recovered at the scene matched Patrick’s prescription, and cellphone records showed Patrick’s phone was in use in the area of the robbery that night, he said.

The phone records also showed that Patrick’s phone was in contact with another phone number that had been used to call for a cab, whose driver identified Patrick as one of the fares, Jensen said.

The phone used to call the cab belonged to Laws, who subsequently confessed to committing the carjacking — although he maintained he was alone, Jensen said.

Defense attorney Jessica Miraglia argued that prosecutors failed to present enough evidence to move the case against Patrick forward for trial, noting that the only evidence that puts him at the scene was the glasses.

“There is someone who admits doing this. He admitted to doing it alone,” Miraglia said. “Anyone can have anyone’s eyeglasses. It doesn’t mean that he was there.”

Assistant District Attorney Justin Richards countered that the glasses aren’t the only evidence — phone records and the cab driver’s identification also place Patrick in the vicinity.

“There is certainly a tremendous amount of circumstantial evidence,” Richards said.

Magisterial District Judge Joseph J. Carmody forwarded all 14 counts Patrick is facing to county court for prosecution.

Patrick, who appeared for the hearing by video, is currently serving a 14-28 month sentence at State Correctional Institution Chester for fleeing police in a 2017 Blair County case.

After his appearance, Laws was remanded to State Correctional Institution Dallas to continue serving a five to 10-year prison sentence for conspiring to commit robbery in a 2016 Luzerne County case.

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