Wertman Changes Plea In Arson Case
With call of the list lasting well into the late afternoon last Tuesday, a McConnellsburg man and woman finally had their opportunity to appear before Judge Douglas Herman to address the criminal charges against them in connection with a January 2010 arson fire in Knobsville.
The last individual to appear on the Fulton County Court of Common Pleas docket on January 11, Roy Scott Wertman decided to change his original plea regarding the fire that erupted on January 17, 2010, at 819 Promise Land Road.
In June 2010, Wertman entered a plea of not guilty to three felony counts of arson and related offenses, burglary; two counts of recklessly endangering another person; and one count of burglary. Now pleading guilty to one count of arson-related offenses and two counts of reckless endangerment, Wertman of 675 Forbes Trail Road is tentatively scheduled to be sentenced on March 22.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, codefendant Cindy Naugle of 518 Knobsville Road maintained her plea of not guilty to one count of arson and related offenses. In addition, further action in Naugle’s case was continued until the April trial term. Naugle remains incarcerated in the Franklin County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bail.
During prior testimony given at a preliminary hearing, Wertman, 33, admitted to setting fire to the mobile home on January 17, 2010, at 9:45 p.m. At the time, Wertman testified he used gasoline and matches to start the blaze.
Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal M.B. Gordon of the McConnellsburg barracks was able to determine through the course of his investigation that the flammable substance was poured on the floor and furniture after access to the trailer was gained through a window. The home’s occupants, Raymond Warner and Nicole Keefer, were reportedly sleeping in an adjoining room and were awakened by the smell of smoke.
Wertman went on to implicate Cindy Naugle, who allegedly asked him to burn down the “old trailer” so Naugle’s daughter, Susan, did not move back in. Wertman added it was “none of his concern” why Cindy Naugle did not want her daughter to move back into the trailer located in Todd Township.
The co-defendants are familiar with one another as Susan Naugle and Wertman have a child together.
After having started the fire, shutting the trailer window and driving off on his motorcycle, Wertman later returned to the scene as a member of the Hustontown Area Volunteer Fire Co.
Wertman is represented in court proceedings by Fulton County Public Defender Tamela Bard, while Naugle’s defense attorney is Anthony McBeth.