Share This Page

Kittanning man admits guilt in house fire

| Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

KITTANNING – A 44-year-old Kittanning man arrested for setting his house on fire in 2010 for the insurance money pleaded guilty on Friday to charges stemming from that incident.

John Albert Picardi pleaded guilty before Judge James Panchik to charges of risking a catastrophe, reckless endangerment and insurance fraud.

According to court documents, fire crews responded to a structure fire at Picardi's home at 118 N. Grant Ave. on Feb. 25, 2010.

Picardi and his live-in girlfriend, Amanda Hileman, along with her two children were not at the house when firefighters arrived at the scene.

The fire appeared to have originated at a heater in the basement and was not initially believed to be suspicious.

However, almost a year later, a friend of Hileman's told police that Hileman said Picardi had set his house on fire for insurance money.

During court on Friday, Picardi admitted to Panchik that he placed a sheet over the heater in his basement knowing there was a chance it would start to burn and cause a fire.

He also admitted driving to Tarrtown Road on the opposite side of the Allegheny River with Hileman to watch his house burn.

“I turned myself in to police over the regret of doing it,” said Picardi, adding that he contacted Erie Insurance to make arrangements to pay back the money.

Picardi faces a total maximum sentence of 16 years in jail and $35,000 in fines.

He will be sentenced in April.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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 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.