Judge grants Sweeten house arrest

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. - December 16, 2009

However, she won't be home for Christmas.

A Bucks County judge granted her request for house arrest, but says she can't get out of jail until she serves six months behind bars. That means Sweeten will remain in prison until Februrary.

/*Bonnie Sweeten*/ is currently serving a 9-23 month sentence for the crime. She pleaded guilty in August.

In May, Sweeten called 911, reporting that she and her daughter had been carjacked and kidnapped by two black men at the intersection of Street Road and Central Avenue in Upper Southampton Township, Bucks County.

Prosecutors say she instead used a former co-worker's driver's license to fly to Florida and check into a hotel at Walt Disney World, where she and her daughter were found.

After considering the fact that Sweeten has apologized again and now takes responsibility for her actions, and her participation in a number of programs at the county jail, the judge told Sweeten she can leave jail and go on house arrest on February 27th, six months into her sentence.

"Who wouldn't want to be home for Christmas?" said Sweeten's attorney, Louis Busico. "But, in the real world, she could be incarcerated for many more months. Now, that's not going to happen. Her Christmas came a little early this year."

"We're pleased that the judge denied the petition for today and that she's going to remain incarcerated through February and that she's going to have to serve six months in jail. The judge understood the impact this has had on the community," said Bucks County District Attorney Michelle Henry.

During the hearing Sweeten told the judge that every time she hears of an Amber Alert, she thinks about what she's done. She went on to say "I don't know who I was that day. I'm guilty, and I can't begin to apologize."

Her lawyer says she's a changed woman.

"I think you saw it today. She's a woman who has a whole new perspective on life," said Busico.

When she is released Sweeten will have to wear an ankle bracelet and will stay at the home of a friend in Trevose, far from the house she shared with her estranged husband and three children. The couple is now divorcing.

Sweeten is also the focus of a federal theft investigation. Authorities are looking into reports that she may have stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from her own family and the law firm where she worked.

During a hearing in August, /*William Siner*/, Bonnie Sweeten's father, came toward a group of photographers and reporters shortly after she pleaded guilty and was sentenced.

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At first he shoved one photographer, then turned on another, attacking him. Another photographer came to his aid, and held him until officials arrived.

Siner was taken away.

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