A Lycoming County judge found a city man not guilty Tuesday of instigating a riot on Second Avenue last summer but guilty of disorderly conduct during the disturbance.
Ralph M. Thomas, 56, of 643 Locust St., was sentenced Tuesday to six to 12 months in prison following the one-day, non-jury trial before Judge Marc F. Lovecchio.
Thomas testified he was only trying to break up a fight among teenagers and upset because he was told his 18-year-old son had been assaulted.
City Patrolman Jeffrey A. Paulhamus testified he came upon a "chaotic" situation in the 600 block of Second Avenue about 11:50 p.m. last July 31.
It was the second time in less than an hour Paulhamus had responded to the block. The first time, he saw no fighting, he said, but the second time he found a melee in progress.
Paulhamus said it became even more tense when a woman began yelling, "He's got a gun and they got guns."
Convinced it was an unstable situation, he called for back-up officers.
Thomas, Paulhamus testified, didn't have a gun in his hand, but he continued to yell and scream obscenities.
"He was the person causing the most disturbance," he said of Thomas. "I believe he was the main factor in the whole disturbance."
"It appears you crossed the line ... but I don't think there is evidence to suggest (that) you caused the group to (riot)," Lovecchio said.
Thomas already is in state prison serving a 21-month state sentence for possession with intent to deliver drugs.