Lehigh Valley

DA: More jail time could be answer to curbing violence

DA: More jail time could be answer to curbing violence

EASTON, Pa. - An eruption of gun violence in Easton has police on the move, residents calling for action, and the district attorney calling for change.

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli says he would like to see offenders of violent crimes not be eligible for parole or at least stay in jail during the time he calls a persons' criminal years.

"A lot of this violence that we are seeing is retaliation," said Morganelli. "Something happens to one gang member or someone disrespects a gang member, someone disrespects the gang member's girlfriend."

Morganelli said a lot of repeat offenders are ending up back on the streets.

"The problem is both our hands and, to a degree, the court's hands are tied because we have sentencing guidelines that are promulgated by the state sentencing commission," Morganelli said.

Morganelli said it's difficult to secure more jail time under those rules. He thinks violent offenders should be locked up for a majority of the time he calls a person's criminal years.

"Those crime years are approximately from ages 15 to like about 35," added Morganelli. "We don't have too many gang members walking around who are 40-year-old gang members."

Police are still searching for the people who fired shots at two locations Monday afternoon. On Sunday, bullets hit a car and home at Ninth and Ferry streets, and just last month, two people were shot on a porch in nearby Wilson.

Morganelli said stiffer jail terms may bring about a little more peace on the streets.

"If you look at the ages of these people who are firing guns, they're always in that range between 15 and 35," said Morganelli. "So those are the years we need to lock people up."

As for the two shootings that took place Monday afternoon, investigators with the Easton Police Department said it's still an active investigation, but they have nothing new to release at this time.

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