Long prison term for man who torched ex's Newberry Twp. home

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Fire officials responded to a blaze at a home in the 400 block of Cassel Road Monday, Dec. 10. Photo courtesy of  Mandi Warren of Susquehanna Fire Company.

A man a York County jury last month convicted of setting fire to a woman's Newberry Township home in 2018 could spend decades in prison.

Douglas Dale Kesecker, 48, of East Manchester Township, appeared in York County Court on Wednesday, where presiding Common Pleas Judge Harry M. Ness sentenced him to a minimum of 17¾ years to 37½ years in state prison, according to the York County District Attorney's Office.

Ness also ordered Kesecker to have no contact with the woman — with whom he was previously romantically involved — and to pay restitution for damages he caused, the DA's office said.

On April 29, jurors convicted him of the felonies of arson, burglary and criminal trespass, as well as the misdemeanors of unlawful restraint, making terroristic threats, stalking and fleeing or attempting to elude police, court records state.

Newberry Township Police said Kesecker was seen with a fuel container and a plastic sprayer on the woman's property in the 700 block of Cassel Road about 1:15 p.m. Dec. 10, 2018.

Officers responded there after someone called 911 and reported that smoke was coming from the roof of the woman's mobile home, police have said.

Douglas Dale Kesecker

Seen at scene: The woman later told investigators that her cousin had seen Kesecker going into the home.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze but not before it caused extensive damage to the home and its contents, police said.

The woman had previously filed for a protection from abuse order against Kesecker, police said, and had been calling police throughout the day of the fire in response to phone messages Kesecker had been sending to her, in violation of that PFA, court documents state.

An officer found Kesecker in a vehicle in the parking lot of a restaurant about a mile away from the fire scene, police said, and Kesecker took off when the officer tried to approach him.

A security camera caught this image of Douglas Kesecker on the property of his ex on Dec. 10, 2018, according to Newberry Twp. Police. A jury in April 2021 convicted him of arson and related charges, and on May 26, 2021, he was sentenced to about 18 to 37.5 years in state prison.
(Photo courtesy of Newberry Twp. Police)

A security camera on the woman's property recorded Kesecker there with a red gasoline canister and a plastic sprayer, documents state.

His defense attorney, Michael Marinaro, could not immediately be reached for comment late Wednesday afternoon.

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