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Accused Jeannette arsonists held for trial

| Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, 9:29 p.m.

One of the men accused in a string of arsons in the City of Jeannette laughed out loud last week when the judge denied a bail reduction citing the dangerous nature of the crimes and charges the man faces.

Roger William Adair, 27, of 720 Chambers Ave. in Jeannette shook his head and laughed as District Judge Joe DeMarchis said, “The matters alleged are very serious and affect the residents (of Jeannette) in general and the first responders. I find this very dangerous to the community.”

Adair was held for trial on all charges — aggravated assault, aggravated assault against an emergency responder, two counts of arson-danger of death or bodily injury, two counts of arson-intent to destroy an unoccupied building, two counts of criminal trespass, two counts of criminal conspiracy and two counts of risking a catastrophe — related to fires set on Sept. 3, 2009, at 509-551 Chambers Ave. and 324 Chestnut St. on Feb. 3, 2012.

On Friday, Adair was also arraigned in connection with a third fire set on Nov. 18, 2010, at 118 N. Fifth St. in Jeannette.

He faces a preliminary hearing on those charges at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 15.

Jeffrey Robert Tierney Jr., 24, of 413 Division St. in Jeannette was also held for court on all charges last week. Tierney faces four counts of arson-danger of death or bodily injury, four counts of arson-intent to destroy an unoccupied building, four counts of criminal trespass, four counts of criminal conspiracy and four counts of risking a catastrophe.

Tierney is charged in connection with fires set at 603 to 621 Chambers Ave. on Aug. 29, 2008; 509 to 551 Chambers Ave. on Sept. 3, 2009; 420 rear Division St. on Nov. 22, 2011; and 420 Division St. on Feb. 16, 2012.

Jason Wick, an ATF agent, testified that Tierney admitted to him in an interview that he participated in the fire set at 603-621 Chambers Ave. in 2008. Wick testified that Tierney explained that he and Christopher Allen Jones, 22, of 128 Lenhart Ave. in Irwin, were watching the move “8 Mile” in which rapper Eminem set fire to an abandoned structure. Wick testified that Tierney told him the movie gave the two men the idea to set fire to a vacant building. Jones faces charges in relation to the 2008 blaze and waived his right to a preliminary hearing last week.

Wick testified that Tierney said, over the course of two interviews, that he and Jones drove to the row houses on Chambers Avenue, that Tierney spread gasoline on the back of the building and that Jones set the fire. Tierney told Wick the 2008 fire was the only fire he was involved in and Wick testified that Tierney was very cooperative with him.

Mike Weyandt, a Jeannette resident, testified that he lived on South Fifth Street in September 2009 and called 911 to report the fire at 509-511 Chambers Avenue. Weyandt testified that he saw Tierney walking away from the fire.

“He told my brother ‘Do you like my handiwork?'” Weyandt testified, saying Tierney pointed at the fire while making the statement.

Bob Manns, an ATF agent, testified in both Tierney and Adair's preliminary hearings Friday that John Raymond Horne, 21, of 413 Division St. in Jeannette, who is also charged in relation to four of the fires, implicated both men in some of the fires. Horne waived his right to a preliminary hearing Friday in all four cases against him.

Manns testified that Horne implicated Tierney in the fire at 420 rear Division St. on Nov. 22, 2011, and 420 Division St. on Feb. 16, 2012. According to Manns' testimony, Horne explained that in both fires, he and Tierney doused sticks with gasoline, threw them inside the building and lit the fire before leaving.

Manns said Horne admitted to setting a fire at 509-11 Chambers Ave. on Sept. 3, 2009, with the help of Tierney and Adair. Manns testified that Horne explained that the morning of that fire he and Tierney were playing video games before walking to Chambers Avenue. Manns testified that Horne and Tierney saw Adair walking toward them carrying a red gas can, at which point the three men went inside the Chambers Avenue building. Manns said Adair poured the gasoline and Horne lit the fire.

Horne also implicated himself and Adair in the fire at 324 Chestnut St. on Feb. 3, 2012. Manns testified that burning the building down was Adair's idea and Adair poured some liquid and lit the fired on both floors of the building.

James Swartz, a Jeannette City fireman, testified that he responded to the fire that day and was injured on the scene by a window that was blown out of the building. Swartz testified that a piece of glass cut his neck so severely he was taken to a trauma center in Pittsburgh.

“I lost a lot of blood, I could see the blood squirting out of my neck,” Swartz said.

He testified that he was out of work for two weeks following the injury and continues to have pain.

Adair remains in prison unable to post bond. He faces $175,000 straight bonds in the cases against him. Tierney also remains in jail, unable to post the $200,000 in straight bonds in the cases against him.

Jones posted $40,000 bond shortly after his arrest.

Horne remains in jail unable to post the $50,000 straight bond in three of the cases against him and $75,000 in the fourth case. Horne is charged in connection with fires set at 509-551 Chambers Ave. on Sept. 3, 2009; 420 rear Division St. on Nov. 22, 2011; 324 Chestnut St. on Feb. 3, 2012; and 420 Division St. on Feb. 16, 2012.

Richard Allen Adair Jr., 28, of 202 North Fifth St. in Jeannette waived his right to a preliminary hearing last month. Richard Adair is facing charges related to fires set at 212 North Fifth St. on Aug. 24, 2010; 118 North Fifth St. on Nov. 18, 2010; and 416 South Sixth St. on Oct. 19, 2011. He faces $50,000 straight bond in each of the three cases against him.

Kristie Linden is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 724-838-5154.

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