Unity woman pleads guilty to assaults against teens, nurse

Jan. 24—A Unity woman was ordered to serve five years on probation after she pleaded guilty Tuesday to assaults against a high school student in 2019 and an attack of a hospital nurse a year later.

Susan Barkley, 44, previously served nearly two years in jail and at a mental health hospital after she was charged with both offenses.

She told a Westmoreland County judge she has changed her behavior and for the last year has continued with mental health treatment.

"I should never have done what I did, and I'm sorry for my actions," Barkley said.

Barkley pleaded guilty two to felony counts of aggravated assault in connection with an Oct. 17, 2019 incident. In that case, she was accused of chasing and intentionally ramming into a vehicle driven by a Greater Latrobe Area High School student who was driving herself and a younger brother to school.

Barkley also pleaded guilty to one charge of aggravated assault in connection with an incident on June 23, 2020. In that case, police said she stabbed an Excela Health Westmoreland behavioral health unit nurse in the head and face with a pen, punched and kicked her and dragged her into an elevator to continue the attack.

Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher Feliciani sentenced Barkley to serve up to 23 months. Barkley served her maximum sentence prior to being released on bond last year, the judge said. She was also ordered to serve five additional years on probation.

Assistant District Attorney Jim Lazar said the mother of Barkley's teen victims signed off on the plea deal.

"She recognizes this is a different person in terms of her mental health and is able to forgive the defendant," Lazar said. "She wants to make sure the defendant is able to be involved in her own children's lives."

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich by email at rcholodofsky@triblive.com or via Twitter .