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Pa. man charged with setting fire to mobile home to stand trial

January 11, 2006|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Quincy Township man who allegedly escaped from Pennsylvania State Police by setting his rented mobile home on fire two years ago is scheduled for trial next month, according to the Franklin County District Attorney's Office.

Norman G. Patterson Jr., 35, of 9120 Tomstown Road is scheduled for trial Feb. 9 on two counts of arson and single counts of fleeing or eluding police, criminal mischief, resisting arrest and recklessly endangering other people.

On March 25, 2004, a Waynesboro, Pa., police officer saw what he believed to be drug transaction along West Main Street between a person in a car and a man on foot, according to the affidavit of probable cause. The officer pursued the silver Saturn westward with the driver being seen throwing something out of the window, police said.

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Police said the driver of the Saturn ran several other vehicles off the road and the chase reached speeds of more than 100 mph before police called off the pursuit west of Zullinger, Pa. Police said the driver was identified as Patterson, who was also wanted on a state parole violation.

Later that night, state police and a Waynesboro officer with a K-9 went to Patterson's home and attempted to talk Patterson out of the house, according to the affidavit. Police saw a fire in the living room and the Waynesboro officer guarding the rear of the residence came around front to move his vehicle away from the mobile home, the affidavit stated.

"It is believed that Mr. Patterson was able to escape from the rear of the home at this time," the affidavit stated.

The mobile home again was surrounded and a state police Special Emergency Response Team was called in. During that time, the fire in the house went out, but shortly after the SERT team arrived, another fire was seen in the living room. Police guarded firefighters while they went inside and put out the fire, but Patterson was not found.

The investigation determined that separate fires had been set on a love seat and a sofa, police said. The fire caused approximately $15,000 in damage, police said.

Patterson remained at large until Jan. 7, 2005, when he was taken into custody at a Greenvillage, Pa., convenience store by the state police Fugitive Task Force and the U.S. Marshal's Service. At the time, now-retired State Police Fire Marshal Stanford Sydnor said police used an Internet lure, contacting Patterson and leading him to believe he was going to meet a woman.

Patterson is in Franklin County Prison, Assistant District Attorney Angela Krom said.

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