E. Huntingdon teen ordered to attend fire-starter program
An East Huntingdon teenager was sentenced Monday to serve at least six months in an inpatient treatment center for juvenile arsonists.
Ricky Wayne Wilson, 17, was ordered by Westmoreland County Judge Michele Bononi to attend the Abraxas fire-starter program in Franklin County.
Wilson last month was voluntarily adjudicated delinquent, the juvenile court equivalent of a guilty plea, to four counts of arson for setting fire to his neighbor's home last year.
The police said Wilson set a sofa on fire on the back porch of the home on June 8, 2011. The blaze was put out by a neighbor with a garden hose and caused about $4,000 in damage.
Five days later, a second fire was set while family members were inside. That fire destroyed the house, valued at about $280,000, and killed Snowball, the family's cat. Everyone escaped without injury.
Police said Wilson was identified as a suspect and the investigation found that the teen boasted about setting the fire to friends through text messages and online video games.
Wilson's status in the fire-starter program will be reviewed in six months, when he could be ordered to continue the inpatient treatment, Assistant District Attorney Leo Ciaramitaro said.
“These were serious felony-level offenses and he hasn't fully dealt with this issue. I still have some concerns over community safety,” Ciaramitaro said.
Defense attorney Tim Andrews said a psychologist who examined Wilson recommended that he not be sent away from home.
“He said he was sorry for what happened,” Andrews said. “He wants to not cause any more problems and to move on with his life.”
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.