House arrest for York woman who tried to torch neighbor's home

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
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A York City woman has been sentenced to house arrest and probation for trying to set fire to her next-door neighbor's home twice in less than a month.

Ivelisse Ocasio, 41, who at the time was living in the 300 block of Miller Lane, pleaded no contest Wednesday in York County Court to the second-degree misdemeanor of reckless endangerment, according to court records.

In exchange, charges including several counts of attempted arson were dismissed, records state.

She was sentenced to two years' probation with the first six months on house arrest and was ordered to continue with counseling, to undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation and to have no contact whatsoever with the victim, court records state.

Presiding Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder also ordered Ocasio to pay $400 in restitution and gave her credit for the 70 days she'd already spent locked up on her case, according to her attorney, public defender Connor Tarr.

Tarr said Ocasio's mental health at the time factored into the crime.

"She is doing significantly better than when I first met with her because of the counseling she's currently involved in," he said. "I believe the ongoing treatment she's receiving will be beneficial to make sure it doesn't happen in the future."

Ocasio originally was accused of trying to start a third fire on her neighbor's porch, but charges related to that allegation were dismissed at her preliminary hearing for lack of evidence, Tarr said.

Prosecutors were willing to enter into a negotiated plea agreement with Ocasio because she sought and is undergoing counseling, according to the defense attorney.

Ocasio pleaded no contest because her mental-health issues left her unable to fully remember what happened, Tarr said. The effect of a no-contest plea is the same as a guilty plea.

The background: York City Police said she twice tried to light her neighbor's home on fire.

On June 6, Ocasio placed a cardboard box against the door of her neighbor's home and tried to light the box on fire, court documents state.

On July 2, Ocasio was seen placing balled-up paper against a window of her neighbor's home and lighting it on fire, according to documents.

On May 13, Ocasio stood on her porch while holding a large kitchen knife and told her neighbor, "I don't care about your cameras … I can't wait to take the teeth out of your mouth," documents state.

Police said Ocasio pointed the knife at her neighbor while making the comment about the woman's teeth.

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