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Orwigsburg man's appeal of arson conviction denied

Published October 31. 2011 05:03PM

An Orwigsburg man serving time in a state prison on arson charges had his appeal of his conviction denied by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.

Carl Jeffrey Zehner, 54, was found guilty by a jury in September 2008 of intentionally setting fire on the evening of July 16, 2007, in front of the home of Michael P. Lonergan. borough manager, who had terminated his water service for failing to pay his bill. The property suffered fire damages. The trial was held in the county court.

The fire was ignited using a glass jar containing gasoline and a rag placed against the building. Having been advised Lonergan was encountering difficulties with Zehner the police concentrated their investigation on him and found evidence in his home of materials similar to those found at the fire scene.

Zehner's appeal was that his counsel was ineffective and he did not receive a fair trail because his counsel failed to adequately investigate and secure witnesses for the trial.

The court ruled, "Zehner's claim on this issue of alleged ineffective assistance of counsel is not supported by the trial record and his appeal is denied."

Zehner was sentenced by Judge Jacqueline Russell to serve four to eight years in a state correctional institution and after his release to serve 10 years on probation.

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