Crime

Former firefighter’s medical issues delay his arson sentence

A former firefighter, who pleaded guilty to arson in October, is still waiting to begin serving his sentence.

Kenneth Moore, 21, of Lanse, was sentenced to 12 months less two days to two years less one day in jail and five years consecutive probation by President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman for his part in a Chester Hill fire in October 2015.

Moore’s sentence was complicated by medical reasons. During an earlier hearing, Ammerman called Moore’s doctor who explained Moore had an organ transplant and will need special medication. His immune system is suppressed and any infection would be serious.

During motions court Tuesday, Ammerman read from a letter sent by the doctor at the Clearfield County Jail who has reviewed the case. The doctor said there is no special unit for inmates with medical issues at the jail, and because of the close quarters, it would not be possible to keep Moore from being exposed to infections or the flu.

“It would put him at serious risk,” the letter stated.

Ammerman said some people are upset that Moore is not yet serving his sentence.

“I’m not pleased with how this is playing out, but we can’t ignore the doctor at the jail,” he said.

Ammerman then asked the District Attorney’s Office to submit a letter with its opinion on placing Moore on house arrest with a GPS unit.

The two other men in this case, Hunter Harris, 22, and Samuel Connor V, 20, filed motions asking for them to be placed in the early release program. Their attorneys cited the amount of restitution they owe as a reason for them to be released so they could work. The three men owe a total of $92,000 in restitution.

Ammerman said they “got a huge break” when he didn’t sentence them to five years in state prison. Harris was on work release, but was taken out of that program because he violated the conditions, he said. Ammerman denied the motions for early release, but suggested they participate in the work release program as a way to pay restitution.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, the chief of the Chester Hill Fire Department asked police to investigate the fire in a two-story house located at 309 Ida St.

It was determined the cause of the fire was a direct flame deliberately used on combustible materials within a shed. The fire spread up the exterior rear of the home and into the residence. The home was unoccupied at the time of the fire.

Harris, Connor and Moore were interviewed regarding the fire on Oct. 26, 2015.

They said they were at the Hope Fire Station in Philipsburg when they talked about starting a fire in a vacant home.

After starting the fire, said they returned to the fire station to wait for the alarm. They then responded back to the scene with the fire company and helped put out the fire.

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