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A convicted felon who failed to appear for his trial will serve up to a decade in prison – with his sentence starting upon his capture.
William Berke III was a no show at trial in January, when a jury deliberated 20 minutes before convicting him of illegal possession of a loaded revolver.
Lancaster County Judge Donald Totaro sentenced Berke – when he also failed to appear - to 4½ to 10 years in prison.
First Deputy District Attorney Travis S. Anderson said Berke’s prison term will begin when he is taken into custody.
Berke, 33, was in court for a hearing a few days before his trial, but did not show up for the trial.
The sentencing happened on April 22 with all parties (except for Berke) appearing via video conference.
Anyone with information on Berke’s whereabouts is asked to contact their local police department.
After the sentence was ordered, a pair of related charges were dropped. Berke could only be tried on the felony person not to possess charge at the January trial because it involved jurors hearing about his multiple prior felony convictions.
FDDA Anderson presented evidence to jurors that Berke had the loaded revolver, and ammunition, in and around a dresser on May 15, 2019, when the Lancaster County Drug Task Force raided his apartment in the 400 block of Manor Street.
The revolver had a scratched-out serial number.
MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @BrettHambright