BEDFORD - The fifth member of a Bedford County arson ring pleaded guilty on Thursday, while the sixth and penultimate alleged member is set for a similar plea on Monday.
Misty Hafer, 23, admitted to joining a group of friends in January as they filled gas cans at a Sheetz store, then set alight an unoccupied building in Everett.
Several members of the group - allegedly led by 25-year-old Wade Rhodes of Martinsburg, who still faces a trial - admitted their complicity in a seven-month Bedford County arson spree that left barns, empty houses and part of a Breezewood motel devastated.
"She's guilty as an accomplice," District Attorney Bill Higgins said of Hafer, who appeared in court Thursday with her infant child.
Higgins acknowledged that Hafer didn't personally set the fire or plan the arson; she was likely influenced by friends.
"She's the type of person that, if they didn't start a fire that night, she wasn't going to start a fire," he said.
Hafer's attorney, Mark S. Zearfaus of Altoona, said she fell in with a bad group of friends.
"She was never a major player in this thing," Zearfaus said.
Hafer could face a three- to 23-month jail term for felony arson after her sentencing, set for February.
Four other members of the group face minimum sentences from 18 months to more than seven years: Donald Leo Stevey of Clearville, Dillon Fornwalt of Everett, Charles Swankler of Hopewell Township and Cory Divelbiss of Everett all entered guilty pleas over the past several months.
Another alleged participant, Keagan Parks of Washington state, is set to enter a guilty plea Monday, Higgins said.
That leaves only Wade Rhodes, the only alleged group member to pursue a trial. Rhodes faces scores of arson charges, having allegedly been present for every fire in the countywide spree.
Officials had characterized the Martinsburg native, who's set for a series of motions before a jury is selected, as the "ringleader."
In September, Rhodes overcame accusations by the Blair County District Attorney's Office that he'd started the 2007 fire that destroyed his family's Martinsburg meat market.
Magisterial District Judge Craig Ormsby said that, because police and prosecutors in Blair County couldn't prove the fire was an arson, there wasn't enough evidence to move a case forward against Rhodes.
Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown is at 946-7457.