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Carbon arson nets prison term

Published August 13. 2013 05:02PM

A Carbon County man who admitted setting fire to an apartment building was sentenced to a county prison term on Monday and also faces a big restitution bill.

David Leone, 23, of Lehighton, was sentenced by Judge Steven R. Serfass to serve a total of one day less one year to one day less two years in the county prison. The prison term will be followed by 36 months of probation, Serfass ruled.

Leone previously 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., Lehighton, on Sept. 17, 2011, causing extensive 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. The two juveniles have already had their cases heard in juvenile court and were adjudicated delinquent. The two are currently serving conditions imposed by the court and must also make restitution, reportedly of $1,466.67 apiece.

Leone also faces a big restitution bill for damages done in the fire. He must pay a total of $68,214.43 to an insurance firm and owner of the building. Leone was given credit for 693 days spent in jail to date on the charges and is eligible for parole.

Serfass further ordered he get both mental health and drug and alcohol evaluations and follow any recommendations for treatment, and supply a DNA sample.

Leone told Serfass, "I apologize for what I've done. I'm deeply sorry. I will try to do the best I can."

Defense attorney George Dydynsky told Serfass, "He did bad acts, but he is not a bad person."

Dydynsky said his client has mental health issues, which he has been addressing while in prison and felt that Leone has made great progress in handling his problems. He said Leone needs to continued mental health counseling.

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

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