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Carbon man admits participating in arson fire at Leh. apartment

Published August 05. 2013 05:05PM

A Carbon County man admitted his part in setting a fire that damaged an apartment building in Lehighton. He was one of five defendants in cases that were scheduled for trial this week in Carbon County court but instead entered guilty pleas.

Insurance fraud

David Leone, 23, of Lehighton, pleaded guilty to one count each arson-criminal solicitation, insurance fraud, both felonies, and corruption of minors, a misdemeanor one.

Leone admitted his part in setting a fire at 149 S. Sixth St., on Sept. 17, 2011, causing damages. The fire forced the evacuation of several tenants in the building.

Arrested with Leone at the time were two juveniles, ages 14 and 17. There cases are in the juvenile court system.

In exchange for the plea charges of possession of explosive or incendiaery material, arson, and criminal conspriacy were dropped.

Judge Steven R. Serfass accepted the plea but deferrerd sentencing to a later date. There is a question concerning restitution for damages sustained in the fire.

Other pleas

Jennifer Sue Hess, 36, of Lehighton, formerly of Jim Thorpe, pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count each of possession of drug paraphernalia and a summary offense of driving while under suspension. A charge of driving under the influence (DUI) was dropped in a plea bargain.

She was arrested on Nov. 14, 2012, when Jim Thorpe police were dispatched to an area of E. Sixth St. for a domestic incident.

Police on scene were told Hess had been using drugs and had drugs in her possession. She left the scene prior to the arrival of police but was later located. Found in her possession was crack cocaine.

Hess told Serfass that she was addicted to drugs and acohol but since her arrest has been addressing the problems and is currently receiving counseling.

On the with possession count Serfass placed her on probation for a year and ordered she get a drug and alcohol (D&A) evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment, zero tolerance on D&A use, and render 50 hours of community service.

On the second possession count the same sentence was imposed running consecutively to the first.

On the paraphernalia count she was placed on probation for a year consecutive to the other counts for a total of three years probation and 100 hours of community service.

On the summary suspension count she was fined $200 and costs.

Carla Annette Bartell, 47, of Allentown, pleaded to one count of DUI. She was arrested on Dec. 28, 2012, along SR248 by Palmerton police. Given a test, the result was .18BAC.

Serfass sentenced her to serve five days to six months in jail, a fine of $300, one year license suspension, get a D&A evaluation, and render 25 hours of community service.

Bartell is currently in the Lehigh County prison serving a sentenced for a parole violation.

Donato Anthony Farole, 23, of Lehighton, pleaded guilty to one count of receiving stolen property.

He was arrested by state police at Lehighton for having in his possession a snowboard that was previously stolen on or about Jan. 13, 2011, in Bowmanstown.

Serfass placed him on probation for a year and ordered zero tolerance on drug use, and render 50 hours of community service.

The term runs consecutive to a probation sentence he is currently serving.

William Gonzalez-Gonzalez, 28, of Jim Thorpe, pleaded to one count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance-marijuana.

He was arrested on Oct. 25, 2011, at 124 Center Ave., Jim Thorpe, by agents of the state Attorney General's office and the county drug task force.

A search warrant was served on the residence and found inside was various drug paraphernalia, a half-ounce of marijuana, and U.S. currency.

Serfass accepted the plea but deferred sentencing to a later date.

Each defendant sentenced must also pay court costs, which average close to $1,000, and pay a $50 per month supervision fee while on probation or parole.

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