The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

February 6, 2011

High-risk arsonist goes free June 15

Remorseless, disturbed inmate torched his parents’ business

By Tricia Pursell
The Daily Item

— A Valley arsonist who was denied parole in October because he posed a high risk to the community will be released from state prison June 15, and not allowed anywhere near his family.

Alvin Hoover, 38, was denied early parole Oct. 12 by the state parole board, and will serve his maximum sentence for felony arson.

He had pleaded guilty to setting the Aug. 7, 2007, fire at Irvin’s Country Tinware in Mount Pleasant Mills, owned by Irvin and Doris Hoover, his parents.

The fire caused $1.8 million in damage.

Hoover later was charged with punching a fellow inmate in the face at the Snyder County Jail in the fall of 2008.

The sentences for both incidents resulted in a maximum prison term of three years, 11 months, which expires June 15.

According to Leo Dunn, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, the board said Hoover was a high level of risk to the community, showed a failure for motivation for success, and had a lack of remorse for his offense.

Hoover was also given a negative recommendation by the Department of Corrections.   

He is being held at State Correctional Institution in Greene County, where he was transferred in March from SCI Camp Hill, according to Tracy Shawley, administrative officer at SCI Greene. He was committed to state prison in June 2009.

Shawley could not provide information about whether Hoover committed infractions while incarcerated in the state prison system.

Once released, Hoover will be on probation until 2027, under the supervision of a state probation officer, Dunn said.

Craig Fasold, Snyder County chief probation officer, said probation terms call for Hoover to participate in and comply with all treatment recommendations made by the CMSU or any other mental health service where he is residing; comply with psychiatric rehabilitation; prescription compliance; not own or operate a motor vehicle without written permission by the board of probation and parole; not possess any weapons; have no contact with his siblings, their children, or any of the employees of his parents’ business; and that he not approach within 100 yards of his parents’ residence, residence of his siblings, or any place where his siblings are employed.

Harold Woelfel, who was the Snyder County president judge when Hoover committed the arson, said Thursday he is not allowed to discuss the case.

Woelfel imposed special conditions on the probation after the family expressed fear of the mentally ill man.

The Daily Item published a number of letters to the editor from Hoover, a former attorney, between 2003 and 2005, in which he spoke about taxes, politics, religion, his travels, his smoking habit and also admitted his mental illness, calling it a “thinking disorder.”

— E-mail comments to tpursell@dailyitem.com