Crime

Orchard Park arson suspect seeking plea agreement

Timothy Penrod leaves the Centre County Courthouse after his preliminary hearing in June. The arson and vandalism suspect was in court again Thursday.
Timothy Penrod leaves the Centre County Courthouse after his preliminary hearing in June. The arson and vandalism suspect was in court again Thursday. CDT photo

Accused vandal and arsonist Timothy Penrod was in court Thursday, scheduled to enter a guilty plea, but went back to jail with no action.

Penrod is accused of setting two fires in the Orchard Park area of State College on May 18. Police say he also vandalized Pine Hall Cemetery in Ferguson Township on Memorial Day. Both locations are close to the Strawberry Fields residential facility where Penrod lived.

Public defender Richard Settgast told President Judge Thomas King Kistler that he was working toward a plea agreement with Assistant District Attorney Nathan Boob, but that had not yet been finalized. Boob was not in court Thursday, and the prosecution was represented by Assistant District Attorney Crystal Hundt. Settgast requested a continuance to complete the plea agreement.

King denied that motion, saying there was no need to move the case so far down the road.

Jury selection in the case is scheduled for Oct. 6. King said that if a plea is not reached by that time, he would consider continuing the case.

“There’s still a lot of time between now and then,” King said.

Penrod faces 15 felony counts of institutional vandalism and 15 misdemeanor counts each of intentional desecration of a public monument and criminal mischief, as well as felony counts of burglary and criminal trespass in connection with the Memorial Day vandalism of gravestones, damage to an outbuilding and burning of flags at the cemetery.

The arson cases include one count of arson endangering persons, two counts of arson endangering property, one count of criminal trespass and one count of criminal mischief, all felonies, and misdemeanor counts of recklessly endangering another person and criminal mischief.

Damage in those cases topped $12,000.

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