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Ruffsdale woman tells court her husband set fires

| Monday, May 7, 2012, 7:16 p.m.

A Ruffsdale woman told a judge her husband was out for revenge when he set nine fires in Redstone and Luzerne townships, Fayette County.

"He told me the reason he done it was for revenge," Heather Dawn Wilson, 22, testified during a plea hearing on Monday before Senior Judge Conrad B. Capuzzi in Fayette County.

Wilson was referring to her husband, Michael Wilson, 44, of Merrittstown. Heather Wilson testified she drove her husband to and from nine locations in 2010 and 2011 so he could set the fires.

Michael Wilson last month was sentenced to up to 10 years on 12 counts of arson and ordered to make $169,200 in restitution. In addition, Michael Wilson is serving a six- to 23-month sentence for stealing a Fayette EMS ambulance.

Heather Wilson testified she was unaware of her husband's intentions when he set the first fire at a vacant structure on Eagle Street in Redstone, but "had a hint" he would set the others with each subsequent incident.

The fires occurred between December 2010 and February 2011. All involved unoccupied structures, except for one, which according to prosecutors was a truck tractor, valued at $5,000, that was set afire.

In exchange for Heather Wilson entering guilty pleas to nine counts of conspiracy, prosecutors dropped arson charges and recommended a sentence of 11 to 23 months, probation and mental health counseling.

In the ambulance case, Michael Wilson pleaded guilty to theft, receiving stolen property, reckless endangerment and driving under the influence. Police said he took an ambulance valued at $225,000 from Highlands Hospital in Connellsville on March 13, 2011.

Using information from a GPS in the ambulance, police located Wilson on Route 201 in Franklin Township. After a six-mile, high-speed chase, police stopped Wilson near Roger's Auto on Route 201, according to court records.

The front bumper, passenger-side mirror and passenger-side box shell of the ambulance were damaged. Wilson was ordered to pay $13,258 restitution for the damage.

Capuzzi did not immediately set a sentencing date for Heather Wilson, who is being held in the Fayette County Prison.

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