Wilkinsburg man who set girlfriend on fire sentenced to 4-8 years
By Chuck Biedka
Published: Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, 1:16 a.m.
A Wilkinsburg man will serve at least four years in prison for dousing his girlfriend with perfume and lighting it last February in Springdale.
Clinton C. Cohen, 28, was sentenced Thursday to four to eight years in prison after agreeing to a plea bargain. He pleaded guilty to arson, aggravated assault and child endangerment.
In exchange, the prosecution dropped charges of attempted homicide, causing a catastrophe, assault and reckless endangerment.
Police said Cohen choked and beat victim Maria Redman before setting her on fire in her Pittsburgh Street apartment just before 5 a.m. Feb. 28.
He also grabbed the one-piece sleeper her daughter was wearing and dangled the infant out of a second-story window.
Prosecutors said Redman was holding the child seconds before he threw the perfume on the woman. As she laid the baby on the bed, Cohen splashed the perfume on her and flicked a lighter.
Police said Cohen helped Redman put out the fire and handed her a telephone to talk with 911 before fleeing.
Redman was hospitalized for about 10 days with second- and third-degree burns and other injuries that required surgery. The child wasn't injured.
Cohen was arrested in Pittsburgh after a two-day manhunt.
Judge Donna Jo McDaniel sentenced Cohen to four to eight years; the prosecution asked for a sentence of four to 10 years.
The judge told Cohen that he could have received a prison sentence for up to 45 years for the three charges.
In remarks to the court, Cohen apologized to Redman and everyone else involved. He also accepted responsibility.
A prosecutor read a statement from Redman on her behalf. In it, Redman said in the past year she has forgiven Cohen so that she can move forward.
“I hope you have a good support system like I've had,” she concluded.
After the sentencing, Redman said she and her child are doing OK.
Cohen's attorney, Frank Walker II, said Cohen was drunk at the time of the incident.
“I hope he can learn, be of good behavior and prepare to come back into society,” he said.
Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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