Arsonist sentenced to 20 years

By Anna Carrera

Published 12/16 2013 05:52PM

Updated 12/16 2013 07:10PM

TOLEDO -- A Cumberland County man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for setting fires around his town. Levi Barnes pleaded guilty to arson in September. He set fire to vacant homes in and near Greenup. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera has more of the story.

After years of worries, some people in Cumberland County say they can finally rest easy knowing Barnes has his sentence. Before this year, Barnes had no previous criminal record. But after admitting to setting more than a dozen homes on fire, the 22-year old will spend the next few years in jail.

"It's about time this ended," said Brian McNeely. "This has been going on for too long."

Barnes was a volunteer firefighter in Greenup. One of his coworkers was hurt putting out a fire Barnes started.

"People in general, being terrified," said McNeely. "It was common knowledge what was going on and the powers that be, did nothing."

Most of the homes were vacant, but the fires did a lot of damage. The court ordered Barnes to pay back more than $400,000 in damages.

"He's terrorized the citizens, just like they said in court," said McNeely. "So hopefully, this will all be done now."

Court records say Barnes would sometimes drink before setting the fires. His supporters say he just needed help. The judge recommended he spend time behind bars somewhere that he could also get treatment for substance abuse and mental health.

Now, people say they just want to move forward.

"Just the overall fear, it's over," said McNeely. "This part is over. Now, we can start a new, clean slate."

Barnes was sentenced to 20 years behind bars, but the State's Attorney says he only expects him to serve about 13-1/2 of those.

Another man, Paul McCormick also faced charges in connection to the fires. He pleaded guilty in August and was sentenced to 7-1/2 years.

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