- Associated Press - Saturday, December 19, 2015

YORK, Pa. (AP) - A man has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of a co-worker who was trying to break up a fight at a Christmas tree farm in central Pennsylvania.

Pedro Felipe-Nolazco, 39, entered the plea Friday in York County Court. He was sentenced to three years’ probation and ordered to pay $21,300 restitution.

Police said Juan Pozar-Felipe, 69, tried to intervene in a Sept. 9 fight between the defendant and his son, and he died after a fall onto a concrete floor. All three were seasonal workers of Strathmeyer’s Christmas Trees in Warrington Township.

Police said the victim apparently lay on the ground all night and was found unresponsive the next morning near the front porch of the employee barracks. He was taken to a hospital and died 10 days later.

In describing what happened that night, Felipe-Nolazco said through an interpreter that he was “not aware this gentleman was still laying there.” His son, Cecilio Felipe-Vicente, 24, was originally charged, but the charges were later dropped.

Defense attorney Ken Eckard said his client’s work visa expires at the end of the month, and he will return to his family in Mexico. He will probably not be granted a visa to return, Eckard said.

He said the defendant worked for 14 consecutive years and was “a good and valued employee” who never intended to harm the victim. He called the case a tragedy stemming from “excessive drinking.”

“He wanted me to make clear to the court that every day he misses Juan. He thinks of him every day and his is very sorry for what has happened,” Eckard said.

First Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Russell agreed that there was no intention to harm the victim.

“By taking the total circumstances of the case - and when you throw in the immigration status of the defendant - that was a fair resolution,” she said after court.

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