Man pleads no contest in fire that did $2 million damage
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- A man has pleaded no contest to all charges in an apartment fire that caused more than $2 million damage to several buildings in the main business district of a poor Pittsburgh suburb.
Twenty-eight-year-old Edward McDonald entered the plea Tuesday in Allegheny County to 15 counts including aggravated arson, causing a catastrophe and endangering property.
Authorities said the defendant, who told investigators that he'd been hearing voices and was depressed for days, doused the couch in his second-floor Homestead apartment with lighter fluid in January 2015. He said he didn't remember setting the fire, which spread to four other buildings, injuring two people.
McDonald spent 10 months in Torrance State Hospital before his preliminary hearing in October because he was deemed incompetent for trial. He will be sentenced Sept. 15.