WILKES-BARRE — Several times during Nicole Hagenbach’s sentencing hearing, proceedings were halted to refocus on her punishment for delivering prescription pills instead of an officer’s overdose death state correctional services.
Hagenbach, 34, of East Noble Street, Nanticoke, admitted to possessing contraband and controlled substances at Dallas State Correctional Institution in Jackson Township and delivering a controlled substance (adderall) to Correctional Officer Robert Bath Jr. near the main gate on July 24, 2020.
Bath, 36, collapsed while working at the prison about an hour after meeting Hagenbach, court records show.
Three days later, Bath was found dead inside his residence with evidence of drug use near his body.
Wilkes-Barre State Police in court records say surveillance cameras recorded Hagenbach meeting Bath at SCI-Dallas.
During the investigation, state police uncovered bank documents showing Bath transferred nearly $20,790 to Hagenbach and text messages between the two referring to prescription pill deliveries.
During Hagenbach’s sentencing hearing before Luzerne County Judge David W. Lupas, his attorney, Peter John Moses, said Hagenbach pleaded guilty to delivering adderall and possessing contraband on the property of the state prison, and not for Bath’s death.
After Bath’s mother, Deborah Cembrock, spoke to Lupas to express grief at losing her son, the judge acknowledged her grief but reminded the parties that Hagenbach was not charged with delivering drugs that resulted in the death.
Mark Cembrock said his brother was a third-generation correctional officer at SCI-Dallas that everyone loved.
“There’s a saying in jail,” Cembrock said. “If you can’t make the time, don’t commit the crime. As far as I’m concerned, it should do the time.
Lupas said delivering drugs, whether outside or inside a prison, is a serious offence.
Finding Hagenbach’s lack of criminal history, Lupas sentenced her to three years of restrictive probation, with the first nine months housed in the county correctional facility, followed by nine months house arrest and the remainder of his sentence on probation.