Young’s Lawyer Applies For Continuance, Trial Delayed For Third Time


BUTLER (PA) – Jonathan Young’s trial will be delayed for a third time as his lawyer filed an application for continuance.

Young’s attorney, Joseph A. Smith, filed the application this past Tuesday, according to court documents obtained by WNYNewsNow. The records don’t specifically state whether the application was granted or denied. A look at the Butler County Court House schedule, however, doesn’t list Young’s trial for Monday, January 29th.

Young’s trial was previously scheduled to start Monday. He is accused of setting a residence on fire on Rt. 8 in Slippery Rock last March.



The trial was previously scheduled to start last August before being moved to October. In October, the trial was moved to January. A new trial date doesn’t appear on the documents.

A call of the list, or a status conference hearing to advise the Judge on what the status of the case is, will now take place on April 4th. Jury selection is scheduled for the following day.

WNYNewsNow will, below, publish a timeline detailing the order of events in the Butler County case, as well as his cases in both Warren and Chautauqua County. We will also show other events that, although Young isn’t directly connected to, show how the local community was affected for months after the fires Young is accused of setting.



March 6th, 2017

A fire ravaged an abandoned home  at 2840 Woodlawn Ave.

 Fluvanna Fire Chief David Bartkowiak told reporter Justin Gould the fire was called in around 8:30. Bartkowiak said the house was ruined.

“At this time, the building has collapsed under its own accord,” Bartkowiak said. “We are treating it as a rubbish fire as we put out the hot spots.”

 Bartkowiak said an investigation will commence once the fire is completely out. Jamestown BPU was reportedly notified as electricity was still running in the house.

Fire departments on scene included Fluvanna, Jamestown, Gerry, Falconer, Kennedy and Ellery Center.

Image by Justin Gould/WNYNewsNow.

March 22nd, 2017

Young was charged in connection with a fire that ravaged through the middle of Falconer.

Ryan Hedrick was able to get some reaction that day from the community.

 

March 23rd-25th, 2017

Five structures caught fire between Thursday evening and Saturday morning throughout the city.

The house at 621 E. 6th St. suffered its third fire of 2017 Thursday evening. Another house on 6th St. adjacent to Appleyard Terrace caught fire Friday evening around 11 P.M.

A fourth structure fire occurred at 220 Crossman St. around 12:30 A.M.

Two other fires occurred at 30 W. 11th St. (1:20 A.M.) and W. 10th St. (2 A.M) early Saturday morning.

Our reporters reflected on the happenings of that weekend. 

 I, myself, attended four of the six fires this weekend. I missed Thursday evening’s fire at 621 E. 6th St. as I was unable to leave a prior engagement. (Thank you, Justin and Ryan!) I also missed the fire at 220 Crossman St. early Saturday morning because I had to rush for our power supplies at our office.

I had plenty of time to catch up at the other four fires constantly having to shield my face from the worst smoke I’ve ever smelled. The rest of the gang had similar experiences with the smoke. I can only imagine what the firefighters undergo with each fire, especially as they were heavily labored deep into the night.

Sixth fire on W. 10th St just after 2AM Saturday.

After the final fire at W. 10th St. at 2 A.M., our crew split for awhile to finish our on-scene coverage at each blaze. I went to our office at 3:30 A.M. to regroup and refresh as I anticipated another blaze that thankfully never occurred. Justin Gould and Storm Harttman soon joined me, and we collaborated on a final report which also included Ryan Hedrick’s work throughout the evening.

We all went home around 5:30 after publishing our report, eager to get some rest for the next day.

I decided to stay up again Saturday night, listening to the scanner until almost 3:30 A.M. Fortunately, the city was relatively calm.

I want to thank all of the firefighters, police and other emergency personnel who were involved throughout the long night. The workers were above reproach even through the difficult circumstances. Crews were also on standby Saturday evening in case the fires continued.

If you see something, say something. Call 911. If you have information on a potential suspect, leave an anonymous tip at 716-483-TIPS (8477)

Ryan Hedrick: I’ve reported on several serious incidents in this city over the last few years. Fortunately, I’ve been able to separate myself from the emotion of the story.

Friday was very different. I was disappointed to learn that very few people came forward with information for law enforcement. I get that people are ashamed and disgusted by the number of abandoned buildings in the city, but that doesn’t give somebody the right to burn them to the ground. These houses are right next to occupied homes with families living in them.

The fires scared community members who wondered what was next while taking a heavy toll on first responders.  I personally have never been associated with something like Friday’s events.  The work of the Jamestown Fire Department was something I’ll never forget. The department’s resiliency and dedication to the community  saved other homes and prevented injuries.  It’s our responsibility to care for the community and  ESPECIALLY OUR KIDS.

No one person is more important than this city. There’s two ways we could go from this. We either unite and help the police track down the person or persons responsible for this or we divide and let the city continue to crumble. If you see something, please say something!

Justin Gould: Reporting isn’t just a job. It’s an art form and a calling. The fiery stretch separated the wannabe reporters with the pros. Being “on the job” 24/7 isn’t for everyone. I can assure you, WNYNewsNow isn’t your average news team.

Let’s start from the beginning. Ryan and I sometimes carpool, and Thursday was just another evening. We were on our way home after an average day when I noticed a big, black cloud of smoke hovering above the city.

I soon realized the oddity of this blaze after arriving to the scene of 621 E. 6th St. No house goes up three times in one month.

This was arson.

Brian and I were the first media members on scene of reported smoke coming from a 5th St. garage Friday around noon, just blocks from the previous night’s blaze.

My phone began to go haywire around 11 PM Friday evening as calls from across the city poured into our news desk line.

Third fire at 6th and Winsor just after 11PM Friday.

Matt and Ryan were already on scene of the 6th and Winsor fire as I arrived in my pajamas.

We stopped our broadcast as crews began to subdue the blaze. Going our separate ways I went home with hopes of hitting the hey.

I was not so lucky. I got another call as I sat down on the couch to decompress.

From Crossman to 11th St. I was on my own for a bit as Ryan made his way back. Hummel was tasked with getting a power cube as my phone was getting low.

The night went on as we went full tilt. Our newest addition, Storm Hartmann, and I went back to the Crossman blaze to shoot some BRoll after the 10th St. fire. We then patrolled the city, keeping our eyes on the sky for smoke.

We eventually met up with Hummel to work on a feature story outlining all activity in the last 24 hours.

Is arson the new epidemic? Many onlookers shared similar expressions.

“Man I love fires!,” one mother told us at the 6th and Winsor blaze.

Kids jumped  in front of my camera at the fire on Crossman saying how cool it is to be on “TV.”

Fifth fire near 30 W. 11th St. started as debris burning then onlookers noticed smoke from the nearby structure.

I can’t forget to mention the group who made it to the 11th St. blaze before first responders as smoke leaked out of the structure. I felt helpless, scared and alone. I hoped there would be enough manpower available.

I almost volunteered Friday even without experience.

I know these people mean well but a fully engulfed house isn’t “cool” especially when arson is involved.

I may sound hypocritical calling these people out because in a sense we do the same thing.  However, this is our job as trained journalists. We can’t and wont jump to conclusions that could lead police on a wild goose chase to fires that never even happened.

Firefighters, police and EMTs risk their lives rushing to something that could have been prevented. Our headline early Saturday morning was spot on. “If You See Something, Say Something” JPD Tipline: (716) 483-8477.

Talking to the police doesn’t make you a snitch. It makes you a stand up citizen.

This won’t stop until someone is caught, seriously hurt, or worse.

Storm Hartmann: I was told about the 11th St. fire while arriving at the Crossman fire. I went to join the crew on 11th and came to see a building engulfed in flames as crews fought to put them out. Just as I arrived at 11th, we received the false alarm at 22nd st.

About 15 mins later, I heard people screaming about another fire a block over. Upon arrival, the building had just started to smoke from the roof. A few bystanders started waking up the neighbors of the burning house to make sure they got out safely.

Crews arrived to fight the blaze. I was shocked that either one or more people were responsible for every fire that happened that night. I am certain we have a problem in the town and hope police are able to apprehend whoever is responsible.

Brian Crawford: Justin and I noticed the fire trucks Friday afternoon on 5th St. Once we were near the garage, we saw that the fire was almost contained on the top floor.

It’s unnatural to have so many fires so quickly. I figured there was an arson Friday evening, but we couldn’t be sure officially.

March 28th, 2017

Jonathan H. Young, 19, was apprehended by Butler County authorities after he allegedly set a structure on fire. Jamestown Police and Butler County reportedly worked together to confirm Young’s identity after he allegedly gave Butler County Jail several false names.

Young is currently in Butler County Jail on charges of felony Arson, Burglary and Motor Vehicle Theft.

April 5th, 2017 

Young, then 19-years-old, was also charged by investigators from both Jamestown and Falconer with two counts of 2nd degree Arson, nine counts of 3rd degree Arson and one count of 5th degree Arson.

Young is accused of setting fires at 621 E. 6th St. (three fires at this address), two fires at 2840 Woodlawn Ave., Falconer, 441 Winsor St., 29 to 39 W. Main St., Falconer, 650 E. 6th St., 220 Crossman St., 30 and 22 W. 11st., and 33 W. 10th St.

 

May 16th, 2017

Suspected area arsonist Jonathan Young was formally charged in Butler County Court Tuesday afternoon with WNYNewsNow in attendance.

 A shackled Young received notification of the official charges he’ll be facing. Young also learned of his judicial rights while sitting with other people being arraigned on various criminal cases.

Young remained quiet, attentive and respectful as the court played a video from Judge Timothy McCune explaining the rights. Young repeatedly glanced around the courtroom as the hearing developed.

Official court documents obtained by WNYNewsNow revealed Young was charged with the following:

Felony-1 Arson (Danger of Death or Bodily Injury), Felony-1 Arson (Inhabited Building or Structure), Felony 1 Burglary (Overnight Accommodations; Person Present), Felony-1 Criminal Attempt (Burglary, overnight accommodations; person present).

Felony 2-Arson with Intent to Destroy Unoccupied Building, Felony-3 Criminal Mischief/Intent to Damage Property Recklessly or Negligibly, Felony-3 Criminal Trespassing, Misdemeanor Possession of an Instrument of Crime, Theft by Unlawfully Taking a Movable Prop and Dangerous Burning.

A Butler Pennsylvania Assistant District Attorney told our Ryan Hedrick earlier that day that  the case against a Falconer man accused of arsons in two states, is very strong

Benjamin Simon, the man tasked with prosecuting Young says he’s also been working with the Jamestown Police Department.

“I’m looking at the allegations and there’s some references of Jamestown and some places there. I can tell you, on the record, we’re working with Jamestown.”

May 22nd, 2017

Court records obtained by WNYNewsNow show Young’s attorney, Maura Palumbi, filed notices for Mental Infirmity or Mental Defense and of Expert Evidence for Illness(es) May 22nd.

The teen was ordered to have an evaluation May 18th by Judge William Shaffer.

Here is the Commonwealth’s rule regarding the Notice for Mental Infirmity and Insanity: The notice shall contain specific available information as to the nature and extent of the alleged insanity or mental infirmity, the period of time that the defendant allegedly suffered from such insanity or mental infirmity, and the names and addresses of witnesses, expert or otherwise, whom the defendant intends to call to establish such defense.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania also describes the Notice of Expert Evidence for Illness: The notice shall contain specific available information as to the nature and extent of the alleged mental disease or defect or any other mental condition, the period of time that the defendant allegedly suffered from such mental disease or defect or any other mental condition, and the names and addresses of the expert witness(es) whose evidence the defendant intends to introduce.

As of now, the records don’t indicate whether the notice was granted or denied.

May 29th, 2017

Residents on Prospect St. expressed anger and bewilderment as a vacant house fire broke out.

 The arson came as the city was still reeling from a series of arsons in March culminating with police charging Falconer resident Jonathan Young with 12 counts of arson.

“About 5 o’clock, I heard banging on my door and that’s not normal,” neighbor Dennis Murphy said. “I walked out into my kitchen and all I saw was orange.”

Jamestown Director of Development Vince DeJoy, who has become a prominent figure at vacant house fires in the past several months, knows something has to change.

“We don’t want to put plywood on every single house because that takes away from it,” DeJoy said. “We’re looking at new products now that are clear and strong, and we’re probably going to have more aggressive boarding up campaign.

June 5th, 2017

Young appeared in Butler County Court Monday to receive documentation of his case status.

 Assistant District Attorney Benjamin A. Simon told WNYNewsNow Young will appear in court at a later date to address his lawyer’s Motions of Insanity Defense and Evidence Of Illness.

Young appeared healthy physically while supporting a thicker yet well-kept beard. Members of the defendant’s family showed their support in the courtroom.

Young, in turn, smiled and made gestures towards his loved one, mouthing he was “okay”.

Young also looked and mouthed to our crews that he was being well fed in county prison. He added he was “doing well.”

Earlier that day, we spoke to the Owner of Weiners Gone Wild, the restaurant Young was reportedly arrested at in March.

 “Jonathan was very calm when he was arrested, telling me he was okay,” the owner said. “I don’t like what he (allegedly) did, but I feel bad, as a mom, for him.”

Young reportedly ate breakfast at the restaurant, paying with cash despite having limited resources during his arrest. Young indentified himself as Jonathan per the owner despite calling himself  “Grant Davis” to police.

The owner said Young told her he was walking to Virginia, to which she responded by handing him a business card.

“I told him to let me know when he made it to Virginia,” she said. “Again, it’s the mother in me.”

June 15th, 2017

Jonathan Young plead not guilty Thursday to multiple felonies in Warren County Court according to court records obtained by WNYNewsNow.

 Young was charged in April with Felony 1 Burglary (Accused Of Breaking into a Pine Grove Township home with a Person Present; Overnight Accommodations, Bodily Injury Crime), Felony 3 Theft by Unlawfully Taking A Movable Prop (accused of stealing a 2017 Toyota Corolla) and Misdemeanor 3 Loitering and Prowling at Night.

Young was reportedly accompanied by a lawyer from the Warren County Public Defender’s Office.

His case, however, is now deemed “inactive” according to his Warren County court documents.

July 19th, 2017

Young was still undergoing a series of mental evaluations, representing one of the factors which could delay or even bypass a trial.

 Assistant Public Defender Joseph L. Smith, who’s representing Young, told WNYNewsNow in his office that a plea deal is in the works.

“Right now, we (Smith and the District Attorney’s Office) are negotiating a plea deal,” Smith said.

Smith said he and Young decided to forego a scheduled judicial conference.

Smith said he filed a motion of discovery Tuesday, meaning he’d have more time to prepare for a trial by reviewing the Commonwealth’s evidence in his case for a nearby Slippery Rock arson.

 August 12th, 2017

Butler County Public Defender Joseph Smith told WNYNewsNow that Young’s trial for a Slippery Rock arson will more than likely be delayed until next year.

 Smith said his client has yet to receive a plea offer from the District Attorney’s office and that they are awaiting a response to a plea of mental insanity. It also appears as though they are still awaiting a ruling.
The trial date was eventually delayed until October.

August 28th, 2017

A well-placed source told multiple WNYNewsNow reporters that Jonathan Young’s arson case in Chautauqua County would be reviewed by a grand jury for sufficient evidence to merit a trial.

That same source informed our Ryan Hedrick that there was a total of 47 witnesses.

WNYNewsNow learned  Young was indicted on 25 separate charges Aug. 30th.

 County Court Clerk Mary Alice Petrella said via email Young was indicted on the following:

Two counts of 2nd degree Arson, 11 counts of 3rd degree Arson, one count of 5th degree Arson and 11 counts of 2nd degree Criminal Mischief.

Young was originally charged by Jamestown Police with 12 counts of arson.

Petrella said Young wasn’t present in court that morning as he remained, and still remains, in PA custody.

October 24th, 2017

Young’s trial was delayed until January 29th, 2018 (9 AM) according to court documents obtained by WNYNewsNow. Those documents stated that there were various constitutional concerns the defense brought to the judge’s attention.

The pre-trial motion, however, was denied.

As of now, a new trial date has not been set per documents.

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