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House arrest for man accused of trying to torch his home
A Conewago Township man, who police said wanted to burn down his home so his estranged wife wouldn't get half of it, has avoided additional prison time but must serve house arrest.
Scott R. Bolton's defense attorney, Chris Ferro, said the man never intended to burn down his home.
"It was a cry for help and attention," Ferro said. "Luckily, this sentence ... (allowed him) to get the help he needed."
The attorney called it a "perfect storm" of bad circumstances, including too much alcohol.
On Monday, Common Pleas Judge Maria Musti Cook sentenced Bolton to four years of intensively supervised probation, with the first 25 days in York County Prison, according to court records. Bolton spent 25 days locked up between March 12 and April 5, and he received credit for time served.
Cook also ordered Bolton to serve three months of house arrest, undergo nine months of alcohol monitoring with an ankle cuff and perform 125 hours of community service, records state. Bolton also cannot have abusive contact with his wife, the judge said.
Bolton and his wife have reconciled, Ferro confirmed.
Bolton, 52, of East Butter Road, pleaded no contest Jan. 11 to risking a catastrophe and disorderly conduct; in exchange, a charge of attempted arson was dropped, according to court records.
The background: Northern York County Regional Police were sent to Bolton's home March 12 after his sister told police she had spoken with Bolton, who sounded drunk, and he was making comments referring to gas and burning his house down, court documents state.
When officers arrived, Bolton was leaning against the front porch railing but didn't respond when officers tried to speak with him, police said.
When Bolton did finally respond, he told officers "I want to blow this b— up," referring to his home, and "f—k her," referring to his estranged wife, according to police.
Officers found a can of lighter fluid and a lighter next to Bolton, as well as empty blue and red gas cans lying on the front porch.
Police said the inside of Bolton's home smelled strongly of gasoline, and the floor was soaked in gasoline, according to police, who said the fireplace also had been turned on and was leaking propane.
'It's my house': Bolton was intoxicated and didn't see a problem with the situation, according to police.
A neighboring occupied home was within 25 yards of Bolton's home, which is in a heavily wooded area, police said. At the time, a burn ban was in effect because of dry conditions.
Strinestown firefighters ventilated the home and had to remove a sofa from the living room that was completely saturated in gasoline, according to police.
Police said as they arrested Bolton, he indicated he didn't understand why he was being arrested.
"It's my house, why can't I burn it down?" he said, according to court documents.
Bolton said he wanted to torch the home so his estranged wife couldn't get anything, documents state. He told police he had finished pouring gas throughout the home but passed out on the front porch before he got a chance to start the fire, police said.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.