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Saxonburg man pleads no contest to setting boy, 7, on fire

| Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 2:27 p.m.
Photo courtesy of WPXI
Edward Myers pleaded no contest to a charge of setting his girlfriend's son on fire.

A Saxonburg man could be sentenced to four to 12 years in prison for his role in setting a 7-year-old boy on fire, officials say.

Edward B. Myers, 37, of Carol Drive pleaded no contest Tuesday to one count of aggravated assault in a pending plea deal with prosecutors. Myers entered the plea a day before he was scheduled for a nonjury trial on a total of 16 charges, including seven felonies, stemming from the May 2013 incident.

Police claim Myers was watching his girlfriend's son when Myers poured a flammable liquid on the boy and then watched as his own son set the liquid on fire. The boy suffered third-degree burns on his chest, neck and face.

Myers' attorney, Gerald Lee Cassady, said his client, who has no prior arrest record, reached a plea agreement with prosecutors. According to Cassady, the prosecution will dismiss 15 other charges against Myers in exchange for the no contest plea to one count of felony aggravated assault.

Myers could be sentenced to a minimum of four years to a maximum of 12 years in state prison, according to Butler County District Attorney Richard A. Goldinger. He'd pay restitution and serve probation, too.

If convicted of all charges, Myers could have received six to 15 years for each of three aggravated assault charges alone and more time for the 13 other charges.

The plea bargain must be approved by Judge William Shaffer. Sentencing is set for Aug. 26.

“If the plea is rejected, then it's back to the drawing board,” Cassady said.

Last month, Myers told the court he wanted a judge to decide his guilt instead of a jury.

Last week, the prosecution team of Assistant District Attorneys Richard J. Bosco and Christine W. Studeny convinced the judge to allow the boy to testify through video conference instead of testifying in the same courtroom as his alleged tormentor. The defense was unsuccessful in challenging the boy's competency.

Myers has been in the county jail since his arrest in lieu of $250,000 bond.

Myers' son was sent to a juvenile detention center last August.

Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or cbiedka@tribweb.com.

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