A western New York man charged with starting a fire in a vacant house in Slippery Rock last year pleaded guilty to arson in Butler County Court on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.
Jonathan Young, 20, of Jamestown, NY, pleaded guilty to felony arson this past Tuesday.
The plea agreement calls for a sentence of 15 to 30 months in jail, which will be served in Butler County Prison. He will also be ordered to pay restitution and fines when he is sentenced on April 26.
Young will then be paroled to New York law enforcement, as he is wanted in his hometown after being charged with intentionally setting a dozen fires there between March 2 and 25, mostly at abandoned or condemned homes and apartments, according to police in Jamestown, NY.
He was charged in Butler County with three felony counts of arson, burglary, attempted burglary, criminal mischief, criminal trespass, misdemeanor possession of an instrument of crime, theft and summary dangerous burning after an incident on Davis Lane near Route 8 on March 28, 2017. The remaining charges will be dismissed as part of the plea.
State police arrested Young minutes after the intentional fire badly damaged a two-story vacant home in Slippery Rock Township.
A neighbor reported seeing a man wearing a backpack and carrying an American flag on a stick walking near the house moments before the fire. Young was found in the Wieners Gone Wild hot dog shop on Route 8 and matched the description of the suspect, but had no identification at the time and gave officers a bogus name, leading investigators to charge him as “John Doe.”
No one was injured as a result of the fire, but a Harrisville volunteer firefighter had to be treated for chest pains while battling the blaze.
Following Young’s identification, Jamestown, NY., police charged him with 12 counts of arson in the string of arsons in Chautauqua County, NY.
State police in Warren County also charged Young with felony burglary, theft and misdemeanor loitering and prowling at night after they say he broke into a home and garage, stealing a car in Pine Grove Township between March 26 and 27, a day or two after he allegedly set his last fire in New York and a day or two before he set the fire in Slippery Rock Township.
The stolen vehicle was eventually recovered in the Oil City area in Venango County
When Young was arrested, police said he was found with two cigarette lighters, a hammer, screwdriver and a wrench, which were found to have been stolen from the Slippery Rock home.
Young eventually confessed to setting the Slippery Rock Township fire with a cigarette lighter, police said. He claimed that he had no home and “bounces around from place to place scavenging for what he needs to survive,” according to court documents. He told investigators that at the time of the fire he was walking on his way to the hot dog shop after spending the night in the woods. He said that he was planning to walk to Virginia.
He continues to be held on $75,000 bail pending sentencing.