Four men plead guilty to fire setting spree
Four men who went on a spree setting fire to vacant homes and farm barns were among seven who entered guilty pleas to criminal charges and were sentenced in the Schuylkill County Court by Judge John E. Domalakes.
Justin J. Geiger, 20, Orwigsburg, pleaded nolo contendre (no defense) instead of a guilty plea to a charge of arson and was sentenced to serve 23 months on probation, pay $50 to CJEA (Criminal Justice Enhancement Account), a $50 monthly supervision fee for each month on probation and make restitution of $313,133.99 jointly or several with Jonathan Eichert and Shawn Hoy.
Charles Joseph Ferguson, Jr., 20, Schuylkill Haven, pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal conspiracy to commit arson and was sentenced to serve nine months to 23 months in the Schuylkill County Prison beginning Monday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m., pay $50 to CJEA, a $50 monthly probation fee, and make restitutiion of $1,000 to Jeffrey S. Faust for setting fire to his barn on Greentree Drive, West Brunswick Township on December 29, 2009; $26,401.16 to Erie Insurance Company and $60,000 to Austin Knowles, The restitution is to be paid jointly or several with Eichert and Hoy.
Matthew Tyler Dixon, Friedensburg, on a charge of criminal conspiracy to commit arson was sentenced to serve one year to two years in a state correctional institution, pay $50 to CJEA, and make restitution of $9,636 to Craig Luckenbill, Schwartz Valley Road, Wayne Township; $111,700 to Knightbrook Insurance Company ; $14,550 to Dennis Marberger, Wayne Township and $5,000 to Farmland Claims. The monies to be paid jointly or several with Eichert and Hoy. He was ordered to report to Schuylkill County Sheriff Joseph Groody on May 4 at 6 p.m. to be transported to a state prison.
Devon Charles Smith, 22, Pottsville, on a charge of burglary was sentenced to serve nine months to 18 months int he county prison. He reports Wednesday, May 4 at 5 p.m. He also must pay $50 to CJEA, a $50 monthly probation fee and make restitutionof $54,928 to James Birdsall jointly and several with Hoy. On a charge of arson he received a concurrent sentence of nine to 18 months and on charges of criminal mischief to property and failure to prevent a catastrophe he received concurrent sentences of one month to two months in prison.
All four defendants were cited by Corporal Kevin M. Reichert, state police, whose investigation revealed between September 28, 2009 and January 23, 2010 the four men set fires in southern part of the county, West Brunswick, East Brunswick, Wayne and Washington townships.
Robert John McManus, 22, Mahanoy City, was sentenced to serve three months to six months in a state correctional instituton on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol, pay a fine of $1,000, pay $100 to SAE (Substance Abuse Education) fund, $50 to Catastrophe fund, $60 to Schuylkill Medical Center, enroll in alcohol highway safe driving school and receive intensive outpatient treatment. His driver's license is suspended 12 months. On a charge of a driver required to be licensed was fined $200 plus $63.50 costs. McManus was cited by Lieutenant John Kaczmarczy, Mahanoy City Police, on October 1, 2009.
Daniel Troy Langtry, 21, Tremont, was sentenced to serve six to 12 months in the Schuylkill County Prison on a charge of simple assault on David Weikel with a beer bottle last July 29. He received credit for spending 49 days in jail. He must pay $50 to CJEA and a $50 monthly supervision fee for each month on probation. Langtry was cited by Trooper Thomas Hornung. He received an additional six months to 12 months prison sentence for a second charge of simple assault on Cory Lebo at the Hegins Fire Company carnival on last June 23. He received credit on this charge of spending 218 days in prison. His total sentence is one year to two years in the county prison. Chief Steven Lohr, Hegins Township Police, filed the second charge.
Bruce F. Kemmery, 55, Schuylkill Haven, was sentenced to serve 12 months on probation on a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, pay $50 to CJEA, a $50 monthly probation fee and make restitution of $113 to Bethlehem Regional Lab. He was cited by Patrolman Gregory S. Meisner, Schuylkill Haven Police, at his home last July 26.