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'Horrible decision': York City arsonist heading back to prison for gun assault

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Keith Allen Hetrick Jr.

A York City man is heading back to state prison after pleading guilty to pulling a gun and assaulting a woman during an argument last year.

Keith Allen Hetrick Jr., 33, of West King Street, pleaded guilty in York County Court on Thursday, Feb. 13, to the felonies of aggravated assault and being a felon in illegal firearm possession.

He was sentenced to six to 12 years in state prison by Common Pleas Judge Harry M. Ness, who ordered it run consecutively with Hetrick's state parole violation.

Defense attorney Ron Gross said it will be up to the state to determine how much time Hetrick must serve for violating his parole in a previous case, but said presumptive guidelines suggest it will be between 1½ and two years.

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Charging documents filed by York City Police allege Hetrick was arguing with a woman about 7:45 p.m. Sept. 15 in the 800 block of West Locust Street when he punched her in the face and choked her.

Hetrick maintains he never punched or choked the woman, his attorney said.

Police said Hetrick then pulled a gun on the woman, which she batted away, after which the gun fired. The woman told officers she heard two more gunshots as she ran away.

Family dispute: According to Gross, Hetrick went to a friend's home after crashing a motorcycle, where he got into an argument with his then-girlfriend.

The girlfriend's cousin, Angel Redding, became involved in the argument, he said.

Hetrick maintains the gun wasn't batted away, according to his attorney.

"He did hold the gun close to her head, and he did fire into the ground," Gross said. "That's definitely aggravated assault."

Gross said he's known Hetrick for about 15 years.

"He and his sister had a hard go of it growing up," the attorney said, adding Hetrick has expressed regret and remorse.

"After it happened, he was like, 'Why did I do something so stupid?'" Gross said. "He knew he made a horrible decision while drinking."

Gross said Hetrick took responsibility for his actions by pleading guilty to illegally having a gun and to committing felony assault against Redding.

Torched warehouse: Hetrick previously served a two- to six-year state prison sentence for setting a March 20, 2014, warehouse fire that destroyed six properties and displaced about a dozen people.

He pleaded guilty to arson and risking a catastrophe and was ordered to pay $145,378 in restitution. Court records indicate he still owes $145,351 of that amount.

Destroyed were the construction warehouse at 701-703 W. Philadelphia St., two garages to the rear of those addresses, 118 N. Belvidere Ave. and 705 W. Philadelphia St., all clustered at the corner of West Philadelphia and Belvidere.

York City Police were called to the warehouse not for a fire, but for a report of two burglars climbing into a window of the warehouse, coming out with items, then carrying those items inside 118 N. Belvidere Ave.

Officers went to the second-floor apartment of 118 N. Belvidere and while there, Hetrick walked in smelling strongly of gasoline, police said. Moments later, officers saw flames coming from the broken window the burglars had been using.

Hetrick was arrested at the scene, where police said he told an officer that fires don't fascinate him — firefighters do.

Shot in robbery: Hetrick was shot in 2017 while being robbed, York City Police have said.

He suffered a gunshot wound to his abdomen and an exit wound to his right buttocks, police said at the time.

It happened June 12, 2017, in the 900 block of West Princess Street.

Police said three men with their shirts pulled up to cover their faces tried to rob Hetrick, but he grabbed for the gun. That's when he was shot, police said.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.