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Judge sentences Overbeck to 19 1/2 to 40 years in prison for Big Run arsons

May 16, 2012

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeffrey Lachnict (left) escorts Anthony Overbeck of Big Run from the Jefferson County Courthouse Wednesday after being sentenced on arson charges. (Photo by Larry McGuire)

BROOKVILLE — Wednesday, Judge John H. Foradora sentenced a former Big Run Volunteer Fire Department member to 19 1/2 to 40 years in a state correctional facility on numerous arson charges.

Anthony Overbeck, Big Run, was arrested Aug. 10, 2011, and charged with a number of crimes that included arson and related offenses in connection with a fire at a two-story unoccupied residence at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Union Street in Big Run. He also confessed to seven other fires that occurred in the Big Run area last year, including one that destroyed Big Run Carpet June 19, 2011.

Public Defender John Ingros said Overbeck has been very cooperative with investigators and admitted his role in the fires with no excuses. He also submitted a written apology for the problems and damage he caused.

Ingros said Overbeck wanted to join the military and asked if that is possible when he completes his sentence.

Foradora said the latest studies on crime showed that the crime of arson is part of criminogenic thinking and has a psychosexual basis.

He said it was until after the eighth fire — Aug. 9, 2011, at the corner of Union Street and Pennsylvania Avenue — that when questioned by ATF agents and the state police fire marshal, Overbeck confessed.

“I don’t think the military would take you now after confessing to the arson charges,” Foradora said, adding that there are aggravating factors to consider before pronouncing sentence.

“You are a fireman, and you are sworn to risk your life to protect people, not to put them in peril,” he said. “One of the structures that you set on fire was occupied, which placed that person’s life in danger.”

Foradora said even though some of the structures were in bad shape, some were not, and Overbeck also risked the lives of his fellow firefighters by setting these fires.

“Big Run is the third smallest borough in Jefferson County, and you’ve known most of them all your life, and you betrayed their trust,” which is one of the reasons why the sentence should be the maximum sentence, Foradora said.

Foradora pronounced sentence on the eight separate fires, for which Overbeck was sentenced to no less than three years to a maximum of six years consecutive in a state correctional facility, plus restitution.

Overbeck’s total sentence will be followed by 10 consecutive years of probation upon release.

“Your sentence is less than half of what it could’ve been,” Foradora told Overbeck.

Overbeck did not speak during sentencing.

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