Aggravated Arson Bill Goes To Governor’s Desk

HARRISBURG – Legislation to toughen arson penalties has gone to Gov. Corbett’s desk. Senate Bill 1024 creates a new class of crime called “aggravated arson” and sets tougher sentencing guidelines. Sen. John Rafferty of Chester, Berks, & Montgomery Counties is the bill’s prime sponsor. Serial arsonists set over 30 fires in Coatesville several years ago. The fires caused more than $3 million in damage, left scores of people homeless and resulted in the death of an 83-year-old Chester County woman. The bill increases penalties if an emergency responder or civilian sustains injuries as a result of the crime. It also clarifies that a convicted arsonist could be charged with second degree murder if the fire unintentionally caused a death and first degree murder if the cause was intentional.

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