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Waynesboro man arraigned in New Hope Shelter fire

August 06, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- A Waynesboro man charged with arson in an April 19 fire at New Hope Shelter allegedly told police that excessive alcohol consumption had blurred his memories of that time.

Court documents state that when officers told Logan Craig Taylor about his friend's account of the events, Taylor responded that he had no reason not to believe that's what happened.

"I must have done it. Billy (Pryer) is my friend, and he wouldn't lie," Taylor is quoted as saying in the affidavit of probable cause.

Taylor, 21, who has addresses listed as both 7 W. North St. and 250 Hawbaker Ave., has been charged with arson, causing or risking a catastrophe and 14 counts of reckless endangerment. The first-degree felony charge of arson carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

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Waynesboro police filed charges July 7 and a warrant was issued for Taylor's arrest. He was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Larry Pentz in Waynesboro on Monday.

In the affidavit, Waynesboro Police Sgt. Mike Bock describes building his case based on conversations with William Pryer and Taylor, who was interviewed at the Franklin County Jail.

Taylor was in jail from June 25 to 27 on a public drunkenness charge, according to court records. He also was arrested on Aug. 23, 2005, on driving under the influence and related charges.

Police allege that Taylor used a lighter to ignite a mattress that had been left between a large trash bin and the back of New Hope Shelter on South Potomac Street. Nine people were displaced in the 6 a.m. fire that police said caused $70,000 damage to the four-story building.

Bock wrote in the affidavit that Pryer and Taylor were walking home after a night of drinking when Taylor allegedly turned his friend's attention to the back of the homeless shelter.

"William Pryer saw the fire and exclaimed, 'What did you do?'" the sergeant wrote in the affidavit.

The pair continued walking and looked back at least twice to observe the smoke, the affidavit stated.

"I asked (Taylor) what he remembers of that night, and he stated that when he drinks a lot, he blacks out and doesn't remember much," Bock wrote in the affidavit.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 19. Taylor was released without bail.

No one answered the phone at the shelter Tuesday afternoon. The answering machine message said the shelter and its thrift shop remain closed.

-- Staff writer Don Aines contributed to this report.

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