State prison for man who robbed business

A city man who robbed United Check Cashing on Hepburn Street on July 22 was sentenced to state prison in Lycoming County Court Wednesday.

Mantee J. Williams, 50, will serve a state prison sentence of two to five years for robbery with intent to inflict bodily injury. He has credit for time served.

Williams was taken into custody shortly after walking into 451 Hepburn St., approaching Melissa Hyde while she was cashing a check and pushing “an object to her left forearm” saying he would “pop her if she moved,” according to an affidavit filed by city police.

Hyde was terrified, assuming the object was a weapon, she told police.

Williams took some bills from the business and ran out the door.

After running on the north side of Hepburn Street, Patrolman Benjamin Hitesman took him into custody half a block away.

Williams suffers from mental health and addiction issues rooted in a troubled childhood, he said in Judge Marc F. Lovecchio’s courtroom.

“In my heart I didn’t mean harm to anyone,” Williams said. “It takes me losing everything to learn from something.”

The fact that Williams terrorized innocent people, changing the future of their lives was enough to warrant a state sentence, Lovecchio said.

“At some point in life, you’ve got to take accountability for your actions regardless of the hand you’ve been dealt,” Lovecchio said. “Your hand is not the best. It has actually been pretty bad, but you’ve been in and out of the system for decades.”

The court took note of a long period of time that Williams was free from substance abuse and crime before the robbery, proving his ability to be rehabilitated.

“I recommend you take advantage of the programs offered to you to best address the issues that you face,” Lovecchio said before sentencing Williams.