Jerry Sandusky Trial: Former New York Jet Lance Mehl Testifies

Rocco ConstantinoContributor IJune 20, 2012

US Presswire
US Presswire

As an All-Pro linebacker for the New York Jets in the 1980s, Lance Mehl was a team leader and first-rate citizen in the community. He was seen as a selfless player who fought through injuries and was a quiet leader on a defense that featured the not-so-quiet Mark Gastineau and Joe Klecko.

Above all, Mehl was a loyal Jet who, despite only starting 16 games in a season three times in his career, was respected enough to be named to the New York Jets All-Time team.

Because Mehl was such a respected figure and probably because of his current job as a director and juvenile probation officer at the Belmont County Juvenile Court, he was subpoenaed as a character witness on behalf of Jerry Sandusky in the former Penn State coach's child molestation case.

Mehl played for Sandusky in the late 1970s at Penn State and lists Sandusky as a major reason why he attended Penn State.  

In an article by Rich Gibson in the Times Leader of Ohio, Mehl credited Sandusky with helping him get to the NFL and admitted the two had remained friends for years.

As for his testimony, Mehl said in the article that he made a seven-hour round trip to Bellefonte, Pa. for a testimony on Sandusky's behalf that lasted approximately one minute.  

Mehl was part of a parade of 16 character witnesses who did their best to paint the accused child molester as a class act, which is what they all knew him as.

In Gibson's Times Leader article, Mehl admitted to still being in denial about the accusations surrounding Sandusky and the 51 total charges brought against him.

"I haven't been following the case because it's almost impossible for me to believe," Mehl stated. "When the charges first went public, it was like a punch in the gut. My wife and I had trouble sleeping for two or three days."

Mehl is no fool, though, and he has to know of the mountain of evidence and gruesome accounts of what Sandusky has allegedly done. Mehl simply did what he was subpoenaed to do and also added that if the charges were true, Sandusky needed to be "punished, and punished severely."

The defense wrapped their case Wednesday and closing arguments are scheduled for Thursday.