Man will serve prison time for arson, weapons charges
LISBON -- An East Palestine man is sentenced to serve nearly eight years behind bars in two arsons and on a weapons charge.
Judge David Tobin of Columbiana County Common Pleas Court recently sentenced Ronald Simpson, 24, of East Taggart Street, to seven years in prison after a jury found him guilty in May on one count of arson and one count of aggravated arson.
He already is serving an eight-month sentence on a weapons charge that a jury convicted him on in April. The arsons occurred early in the morning Jan. 4.
The aggravated arson occurred when Simpson set a fire on the back porch of the occupied home of James and Renetta Borelli on East Taggart Street. He also set fire to a 1986 pickup belonging to Don Reidy of Anna Street, resulting in the arson charge. No one was injured in either fire.
Illegal weapon: The weapons charge stems from a search of Simpson's home as part of the arson investigation, which produced an illegal sawed-off shotgun.
Simpson did not know the victims of his arsons, said assistant county Prosecutor John Gamble. The fires were "purely random acts of violence," Gamble said.
The unemployed Simpson apparently "just went on a rampage" after an argument with his girlfriend, who was not a victim in the crimes, Gamble added.
Judge Tobin sentenced Simpson to seven years for the aggravated arson, which carries a maximum penalty of eight years.
Simpson received a year for the arson, which Judge Tobin is allowing him to serve at the same time as the aggravated arson sentence. The maximum penalty for arson is 18 months in prison.