WELLSBORO - Matthew D. Priset, of Delmar Township, a former football star and high school valedictorian, was sentenced Monday to life in state prison by Tioga County President Judge Robert E. Dalton Jr. for the murder of Clinton Perry in Perry's Delmar Township home nearly two years ago.
At the end of a weeklong bench trial in June, Dalton found Priset guilty of first-degree murder but mentally ill in the stabbing death of Perry, 28, whom Priset believed to be Satan, and that he was defending himself when he went to Perry's home on Jan. 25, 2011, and stabbed the man to death.
Before the sentencing, Dr. Joseph McNamara, a psychiatrist retained by the county to conduct a mental evaluation of Priset before sentencing, said "it is critically important" that Priset continue prescribed medications.
Priset, 28, declined to address the court but allowed his attorney Bill Hebe to read a portion of Dr. Joseph McNamara's pre-sentence evaluation with regard to his feelings about what he had done.
"He seemed coherent and had great remorse for his actions, stating that the victim didn't deserve to die. He accepts his penalties, which he feels he deserves," Hebe read.
Perry's family also declined to speak at the sentencing, as District Attorney George Wheeler quoted Perry's father in saying: "What else is there to say?"
"They recognize that what happens here today will not restore their only child to them." Wheeler said. "They've lost their son and have had to let go of the home he was raised in because they could no longer stand to live there. It is something they will live with forever, and it has left a permanent impact on them and the greater community."
"This is a tragedy all the way around for the families and friends of both men," Dalton said.
He also noted that he appreciated the letters from families and friends of both the defendant and victim.
"Mr. Priset's friends all believe he may have something to offer society at some point in time. I suppose there is always hope for that," Dalton said.