House arrest for man who tried to torch ex's Jackson Twp. home

Liz Evans Scolforo
  • Lorenzo Jackson Sr.'s DNA was found on a cigarette butt at the crime scene.
  • He allegedly told his ex-girlfriend's housemate, "I have nothing to lose."

A York City man has avoided more prison time for apparently trying to blow up propane tanks next to his ex-girlfriend's Jackson Township home while she and others slept inside.

Lorenzo Jackson Sr., 62, of Park Place, pleaded no contest Monday in York County Court to attempted arson and aggravated assault, according to court records.

Lorenzo Jackson Sr.

As part of a plea agreement, he was sentenced to two years of intensive probation, with the first two months on house arrest, records state. He also must undergo mental-health and drug and alcohol evaluations and comply with recommended treatment and counseling.

He is forbidden from having any contact with his ex-girlfriend during his probation.

Jackson spent nearly a year in York County Prison, but as part of his plea agreement he forfeited his time-served credit on his sentence, defense attorney Matt Sembach said.

Jackson's DNA was found on a cigarette butt at the scene, which is what prompted him to take the proposed plea agreement, according to the attorney.

"Mr. Jackson maintained his innocence throughout the entire case," but he entered the no-contest plea "when he was faced with the evidence of the cigarette butt, and our alibi defense broke down," Sembach said. Jackson had maintained he was home at the time of the incident.

"We're happy to have the matter resolved so Mr. Jackson can move on with his life," Sembach said.

The case: Northern York County Regional Police were called to Chesapeake Estates just off Biesecker Road about 1 a.m. Oct. 11, 2015.

Roxanna Murphy, who lives there, told police she'd been asleep on the couch when she heard someone messing with the back door, according to court documents.

She said she found Jackson, her housemate's ex-boyfriend, at the door and smelled a strong odor of gasoline, police said.

"I have nothing to lose," Jackson told Murphy, according to documents.

They both yelled for Peggy Pyle, who had dated Jackson. She told Jackson to leave and he ran away, police said, and the women then called 911.

Officers arriving on the scene found a strong odor of gas and an empty 5-liter gas can, according to documents. The women said the can was theirs and was previously half full, police said.

Gas poured near home: Gasoline was running from the can to propane tanks next to the house, with more gas poured onto the hood of Pyle's car, which was in the driveway, documents state.

Police also found cigarette ashes on the car hood.

Near the gas, they found a burned cigarette. Police said Jackson tried to light the gasoline by tossing his lit cigarette butt on it, but the heavy early-morning dew doused the embers before they ignited the gas fumes.

Pyle, Murphy and Pyle's daughter were all inside the mobile home when Jackson tried to set the fire, police said.

"A fire occurred at this residence at the end of July (2015), which was founded to be accidental, but Pyle had suspected that Jackson was involved," court documents state.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.