Houtzdale man sentenced for burning down his home

Swanson pleaded guilty to arson

CLEARFIELD — A Houtz­dale man accused of burning down his home will spend time in state prison.

Cody Lynn Swanson, 27, pleaded guilty during special sentencing court Monday to three counts of felony arson, criminal mischief, false statements and recklessly endangering another person before Judge Paul E. Cherry.

The charges stem from a fire at a West Hannah Street residence in Woodward Township, Clearfield County on Jan. 2, 2018.

His attorney, Steven Johnston, stated that Swanson has expressed remorse to him, adding that the fire was actually a suicide attempt.

Swanson apologized to “anyone I put at risk or in danger” and to his family and friends.

Cherry sentenced Swanson to a total of three to 11 years in state prison. He will pay restitution in an amount to be determined later.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, investigators discovered that the fire originated on and near a stairway leading to the second floor and it was ignited by a direct flame. The home had been insured for $200,000.

When Swanson was interviewed by police, he said the residence had been owned by his mother who passed away but now belonged to him and his mother’s husband, Joseph Petriskie.

Swanson said he thought the fire was started by a space heater. He also commented that he lost some birds and ferrets in the fire.

Further investigation revealed there was no space heater in the spot Swanson had indicated and the home contained only a few household items.

A neighbor reportedly told police she saw Swanson removing the contents of the home in the week prior to the fire.

When Petriskie was questioned, he said since the fire, Swanson had been texting him asking to get the insurance money.

When Swanson was interviewed by police on Oct. 26, he admitted he lied to investigators and the insurance representatives. He confirmed he removed his belongings and animals before the fire and then confessed to setting the fire with the intent of destroying the home.

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