Cole Sentenced to 12 Additional Years in State Prison for Multiple Escape Attempts

May 23rd, 2023

LOCK HAVEN - Matthew Joseph Cole, 36, previously a resident of Renovo and Lock Haven, was sentenced at two proceedings this month before Clinton County President Judge Craig P. Miller on several cases including 3 attempted escapes from the custody of the Clinton County Sheriff and the Clinton County Correctional Facility. On May 16 Judge Miller imposed a 48-96 month sentence, followed by an additional 24-48 month sentence imposed Tuesday, May 23rd.  In total, Cole has accumulated 6-12 years in state prison following his repeated escape attempts from his original 4 year maximum sentence which commenced in 2021.

Cole first attempted to escape Clinton County Sheriff custody following a sentencing hearing that occurred on July 26, 2021 when Judge Michael F. Salisbury imposed 15-48 month sentence in state prison for retail theft and receiving stolen property offenses.  As Cole exited the courtroom following sentencing that date, he fled from Sheriff Deputies who would later subdue him after an extended physical struggle during which tasers were deployed several times.  In January, Cole was convicted in that case by a Clinton County jury of Escape, a felony of the third degree, Flight to Avoid Apprehension, a misdemeanor of the second degree, Resisting Arrest, a misdemeanor of the second degree, Disorderly Conduct, a misdemeanor of the third degree, and Attempted Escape, a felony of the third degree. The jury deliberated approximately one-hour before returning a verdict of guilty on all counts charged in the one-day trial.

Cole then attempted to escape from the Clinton County Correctional Facility (CCCF) by tunneling through the concrete walls of the facility... twice.  In lieu of trial, last week Cole entered guilty pleas to both attempted escapes at CCCF on the morning of jury selection scheduled in both cases.  On Tuesday morning, Cole asked the Court to impose concurrent sentences to his prior escape, asking for an opportunity to get home to his family sooner.  DA Dave Strouse argued for a consecutive 7-year state prison sentence, citing Cole's repeated refusal to follow the law and the Commonwealth's desire for his removal from the community for as long as possible.  

Judge Miller imposed the 2-4 year sentence on all remaining offenses, which set's Cole's maximum at 12 years for the escapes, with parole eligibility after the first 6 years of the sentence.  All of the escape charges run consecutively to Cole's original 15-48 month sentence originally imposed by Judge Salisbury in July 2021.