20 06 2008

Disabled Iraq war vet will serve two to four years for arson

by Liz Zemba

Tribune-Review

June 20, 2008

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/breaking/s_573703.html

A disabled Iraq war veteran will not have to make $43,000 in restitution to cover an insurance company’s payout on a mobile home he set on fire while it was occupied by two women and his young nephew.

Salvatore “Sam” Ross Jr., 25, was sentenced Thursday to two to four years in state prison, to be served concurrently with two, six- to 12-month terms he already is serving for probation violations.

Ross, of Hardy Hill Road in Dunbar Township, is charged by state police with arson, aggravated assault, terroristic threats, recklessly endangering another person and resisting arrest.

Police said Ross, who was blinded and lost his left leg while serving with the Army in Iraq in 2003, walked to a trailer near his home and set it on fire in February 2007 because he was upset with one of the women.

Police said Ross attacked a firefighter at the scene and later threatened state troopers with his prosthetic leg.

Ross is in prison on probation violations stemming from other cases, including a fight outside a Uniontown bar and setting fire to six vehicles owned by his grandfather.

Ross was scheduled to be sentenced June 9 in the arson case, but the proceedings were continued after he objected to a requirement that he make $43,000 in restitution to an insurance company.

In imposing the sentence yesterday, Judge Gerald R. Solomon noted that the insurer, EMC Insurance of Des Moines, Iowa, had notified prosecutors that it had waived its right to seek restitution.

Ross appeared for yesterday’s sentencing proceedings via videoconference from the State Correctional Institution at Forest in Forest County.

Liz Zemba can be reached at lzemba@tribweb.com or 724-626-3561.

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