Former school director sentenced for setting fire — (The Times-Tribune)

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The Times-Tribune

BY ERIN L. NISSLEY, STAFF WRITER

09/20/2007

A former Scranton school director and constable will serve two months of house arrest and more than three years of probation for setting fire to a city home he owned.

Christopher Musti, 31, of 915 Hampton St., pleaded guilty in June to two counts of recklessly endangering another person. He blamed ongoing mental health problems, including depression, for his actions.

On Dec. 11, Scranton police were called to 436 S. Eighth Ave. just before midnight, after a neighbor reported seeing someone inside the building with a flashlight. Once inside, police smelled smoke and found a freshly burned newspaper on the second floor, according to court papers.

The neighbor told police a heavyset man believed to be Mr. Musti ran from the side door of the house before they arrived.

When police interviewed Mr. Musti, he said he felt as if “something inside him was telling him to go to the Eighth Avenue home” and set a fire, according to court paperwork.

In court Wednesday, Mr. Musti told Judge Michael Barrasse he wanted to apologize to his parents for “putting them through all this” and to the court for “taking up everyone’s time.”

At the time, I was off my medication,” he said, adding that he’s been going to counseling.

Judge Barrasse said he will expect monthly reports about whether Mr. Musti is attending counseling and remaining on any medication prescribed by his doctors.

“Failing to abide by these conditions will result in incarceration,” he told Mr. Musti. “You understand that?”

After two months of house arrest, Mr. Musti will serve three years and 10 months probation.

Contact the writer: enissley@timesshamrock.com

©The Times-Tribune 2007