The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

October 15, 2012

Firefighters ordered to pay $300,000 for arsons

DANVILLE — Two former firefighters will spend nearly five years to 18 years in state prison for setting fire to homes, a barn and a field.

Zane Patrick Snyder, 19, of 948 Sodom Road, Milton, was sentenced Monday to 58 months to 17 years in jail.

Co-conspirator Charles William Jacobs, 35, of 118 N. Fifth St. Apt. 1, Lewisburg, was sentenced to 81 months to 18 years in jail.

The former Potts Grove Fire Company members were also ordered to pay restitution totaling nearly $300,000 to victims. They previously pleaded guilty to the arsons as part of plea bargains.

Liberty Township Fire Chief Larry Brown told Columbia-Montour Counties President Judge Thomas James Jr. the arsons put 80 to 100 firefighters at risk “and endangered an awful lot of people and lives. We were fortunate only a truck was damaged. They put a lot of lives on the line. The whole county was in turmoil. I hope justice is served.”

He spoke during sentencing for each man.

Both defendants apologized for what they did.

“I want to apologize to everyone involved and to all the victims and to my family. I shouldn’t have done what I did. I apologize to everybody,” said Snyder, represented by Attorney Michael Dennehy.

Jacobs, represented by Attorney Leslie Bryden, also asked to withdraw his previous guilty plea to a charge of false reports. The judge allowed him to do so and scheduled that case for trial.

Montour County District Attorney Rebecca Warren said Jacobs and Snyder terrorized the county for three months earlier this year, risking the lives of volunteer firefighters and livestock by using lighters and molotov cocktails to set the fires, she said.

She said a letter from Snyder’s mother stated her son was unemployed, hadn’t finished high school and chose the wrong people to follow. His mother believes he has a learning disability and mild brain damage, she said. Snyder cooperated with police more than Jacobs.

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