Despite impassioned pleas from family and friends of former Marcus Hook Mayor James Schiliro, a Delaware County Court judge on Monday sent him to jail.
Schiliro was sentenced to 10 to 20 months for an alcohol-fueled episode last February in which he had a police car bring a former neighbor - a 20-year-old to whom he said he was attracted - to his home, made him drink wine, and refused to let him leave for 31/2 hours.
During the encounter, Schiliro threatened to kill himself and fired a gun into a stack of papers. The man eventually left and later called police.
In addition, Schiliro received five years of probation and 50 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay $1,300 in fines and court costs. He is eligible for work release and time off for good behavior.
In November, Schiliro was convicted of recklessly endangering another person, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, official oppression, and furnishing liquor to a minor.
On Monday, 13 of Schiliro's family and friends came to the sentencing hearing to speak on his behalf. They portrayed him as a caring man who gave back to his community as mayor, helped create jobs, formed basketball and baseball leagues for the borough's children, served as a volunteer firefighter, and was a good friend and father. Schiliro is a single parent.
"I've seen him reach into his pocket and give people he didn't know money when they needed it," said Bill Cox, a friend who has known Schiliro for 15 years.
"This is really a case of a complex person with complex issues," said Michael Malloy, Schiliro's defense attorney, referring to his client's acknowledged bisexuality.
Schiliro choked up as he credited the victim - Nicholas Dorsam - with saving his life.
"That night was a culmination of feelings which had built up over 25 years," said Schiliro. He said he knew Dorsam as a teen and helped him as a mentor. When Dorsam was 20, Schiliro said, he became attracted to him.
At the house that night in February, Schiliro told Dorsam he wanted to commit suicide. Then Dorsam talked about Schiliro's daughter, who was asleep upstairs.
"I was so drunk and so upset with myself for what I did, if Nick didn't mention my daughter I would have killed myself," Schiliro said. "That is the only thing that kept me from pulling the trigger."
Schiliro, who sold the weapon shortly after the encounter, entered an alcohol-treatment program and underwent counseling.
Judge James F. Nilon evidently was not moved by the testimony from Schiliro and his family members.
"I don't think you appreciate the seriousness of the nature of the behavior that you engaged in," Nilon said.