2 sentenced in Jeannette arsons
Two men pleaded guilty Monday to several of 20 arson fires that were set in Jeannette over four years, putting residents on edge until six suspects were arrested.
Jeffrey Robert Tierney Jr., 24, of Jeannette was sentenced to serve one year, less a day, to two years, less a day, in prison and three years' probation by Judge Debra Pezze.
Tierney entered a general guilty plea in connection with setting four fires.
“These were extraordinarily foolish acts,” Pezze said.
Also pleading guilty was Christopher Allen Jones, 23, of Manor. He was sentenced to three years of intensive supervision and six months under house arrest with electronic monitoring on charges of arson and conspiracy for an Aug. 29, 2008 fire on Chambers Avenue.
That was the first in the string of arsons that plagued the city.
Jones had agreed to testify against Tierney, who pleaded guilty to starting fires on Aug. 29, 2008, and Sept. 3, 2009, at row homes on Chambers Avenue and Nov. 22, 2011, and Feb. 16, 2012, both at 420 Division St.
Prosecutors were seeking a term of incarceration in a state prison for the fires that caused “much pain, angst and fear among the residents of that city,” Assistant District Attorney Leo Ciaramitaro said.
Authorities arrested six people in mid-September, alleging their involvement in nine of the 20 arsons.
Local police were assisted by federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Jeannette fire Chief Joe Matijevic said no other suspicious fires have occurred since the arrests were made.
Tierney's mother, Michele Horne, called his sentence “fair,” but said her son did not commit three of the arsons with which he was charged.
Pezze told Tierney that he was lucky “no one was hurt or seriously injured.”
“I didn't think about that,” Tierney replied.
Jones's attorney, Tim Andrews, argued that his client was “involved with some wrong people” at the time of the 2008 fire, but he is now the “sole provider” for his girlfriend, their son and her daughter with a mechanic's job in Irwin.
“When he was 18, yes, he did some dumb things,” Andrews said.
Pezze agreed. “Now you live a life of dignity with a job and a family and I wouldn't want to take that away from you,” she told Jones.
Three more suspects in the arsons are awaiting action in their cases:
• John Raymond Horne, 22, of Jeannette faces arson charges in connection with four fires on Sept. 3, 2009, along Chambers Avenue; Aug. 24, 2010, at 212 N. Fifth St.; Nov. 22, 2011, at 420 Division St.; and Feb. 3, 2012, at 324 Chestnut St., where a firefighter was injured. A trial is set to begin Monday for Horne, who is Tierney's half brother.
•Richard Allen Adair Jr., 28, of Jeannette faces arson charges for three fires — on Aug. 24, 2010, at 212 N. Fifth St.; Oct. 19, 2011, at 416 S. Sixth St.; and Nov. 18, 2010, at 118 N. Fifth St. He will seek to have his bond reduced in a May 13 hearing.
• His brother, Roger William Adair, 27, of Jeannette faces arson charges in three fires — on Sept. 3, 2009, along Chambers Avenue; Feb. 3, 2012, at 324 Chestnut St., where a firefighter was injured; and Nov. 18, 2010 at 118 N. Fifth St. A September trial is scheduled. The Adairs are brothers.
A juvenile charged in a July 9, 2011, fire began a fire-setting rehabilitation program in October. The 17-year-old boy was adjudicated for a fire set inside the former Monsour Medical Center along Route 30.
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Walker: Scottdale Association’s Good Friday service site changes to Trinity church
- Residents warned after incidents with bottles rigged to explode on Jeannette streets
- Fire marshal probes cause of blaze that destroyed vacant Derry Township house
- Request for documents delays Speedway hearing in Unity
- Forbes: Night at the Races planned at sportsmen’s club
- Westmoreland County tourism grants promote banana splits, breweries, trolley, railroad
- Youngwood aims to reduce amount that ends up in sewage treatment facility
- Ligonier doctor’s appeal to practice rejected
- Latrobe ear-biting suspect loses bid for reduced bail
- Donora-Monessen bridge ramps to stay open during construction
- Hempfield infant fights rare disease