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Prison for man who had York cop's schedule leaked to him

Liz Evans Scolforo

A York City man must spend several months in prison for convincing a clerk at a York City magisterial district judge office to leak him a city officer's work schedule.

Beronia Jackson Jr.

Beronia Maurice Jackson Jr., 27, of Tioga Street, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to obstruct the administration of law or other government function.

As part of a negotiated plea agreement, he was sentenced to three to 23 months in York County Prison and must report there May 20.

Jackson is on probation, but was unable to tell the judge why.

"You don't know what you're on probation for?" presiding Common Pleas Judge Richard K. Renn asked in disbelief. Senior deputy prosecutor Kelley Nelson said Jackson is on probation for a felony drug-dealing conviction.

The judge then asked about Jackson's unrelated escape charges, and Nelson told him those charges were dropped.

The background: Last summer, Jackson had his friend, Brittney Koons, who worked for District Judge Linda Williams, provide him with the work schedule of York City Police Officer Ben Praster.

Koons, 30, of North York, pleaded guilty in February to obstructing the administration of law and conspiracy to commit that offense, as well as no contest to recklessly endangering a law-enforcement officer. She was sentenced to 15 days to six months in county prison.

​Court documents state Jackson was wanted by Praster, and that Jackson had Koons leak him Praster's work schedule so he could engage in illegal activities without being spotted by Praster.

Staff members of York County's 19 magisterial district judge offices have access to a software program that allows them to view the work schedules of police officers in their jurisdiction, which allows them to schedule hearings that require officers' presence, documents state.

Brittney Koons

"Koons would look up Praster's schedule and advise Jackson when and where he would be scheduled to work," documents state.

Should've 'obeyed the law': Dawn Cutaia, Koons' defense attorney, said Praster knew Jackson didn't have a driver's license and that Jackson wanted to know when it would be safe to drive without being spotted by Praster.

York City Police Chief Wes Kahley said releasing Praster's schedule could have endangered the officer.

On Monday, Jackson told Judge Renn he wanted Praster's schedule because the officer was "harassing" him, although Jackson didn't elaborate.

"An officer doing their job does not constitute harassment," Kahley said. "If he didn't want (to be) stopped by the police he should have obeyed the law."

It was never Koons' intention to put a police officer in danger, according to Cutaia, who said Koons used poor judgment.

Co-worker's charges: Solmaria "Beba" Martinez Arce, a second former employee at the office of District Judge Linda Williams, remains charged with leaking information.

Solmaria Martinez Arce

Police allege she provided Praster's work schedule to Jackson when Koons wasn't working.

Police also allege Martinez Arce, 31, of York, told someone that York City Detective First Class Jeff Spence had obtained a warrant from Williams' office for a man identified as RBC, according to court documents. That person then alerted RBC's mother, who alerted him, documents state.

"It could have been disastrous," Spence said at the time. He confirmed he had obtained a search warrant for RBC's residence.

Already in custody: But by the time Spence went to Williams' office on July 10 to request that warrant, his fellow officers and detectives had already arrested the man and secured the residence, Spence said, making the advance warning moot.

The search warrant was issued in relation to the June 12 double homicide of brothers Angel Berrios and Abdiel "Tito" Vazquez-Soto, according to the detective. RBC has not been charged in the slayings, Spence confirmed.

The case against Martinez Arce remains active and her trial is tentatively scheduled for the week of May 9, according to court records.

York County spokesman Carl Lindquist has said neither woman is still working at Williams' office, or for the county in any capacity.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.