PLYMOUTH, Ind. (AP) — A couple accused of torching eight barns last year in a northern Indiana county now face charges alleging that they also set fire to an Amish school in an adjacent county.
Joseph Hershberger, 41, and Sherry Thomas, 32, were charged in December in Elkhart County with eight counts of arson for the barn burnings, the first of which occurred in April 2021. They have both entered not guilty pleas.
Last week, Marshall County authorities charged them with arson for allegedly starting a fire at Rolling Meadow School east of Bremen in May 2021.
Thomas and Hershberger, already in custody for the arsons in Elkhart County, allegedly told Marshall County detectives they broke a window at the school, poured gasoline inside and lit a match, the South Bend Tribune reported.
Some, but not all, of the barns the pair allegedly set on fire belonged to members of the Amish community.
Court documents do not detail their alleged motivations, saying only that Thomas told police that she and Hershberger would “drive around and he would pick out barns to burn.”
Both Hershberger and Thomas have change of plea hearings scheduled for this spring, with Hershberger's set for April 11. Thomas' hearing is scheduled for June 6.