Defendant Waives Hearing in Attempted Homicide by Arson Case
Hilmer Harris, age 20, of Loch Lomond Road, Philipsburg waived his hearing and remains in Clearfield County Jail in lieu of $1 million in bail. His co-defendant, Deanna Nevel, age 30, of Trolley Street, Winburne, is still scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.
According to a prior article, on April 9, 2012, Cp. Charles Gross of the Pennsylvania State Police, Punxsutawney Barracks, filed criminal complaints charging Nevel and Harris with: 1) criminal attempt to commit murder, 3 counts; 2) criminal conspiracy to commit murder, 6 counts; 3) criminal attempt to commit criminal homicide, 3 counts; 4) criminal conspiracy to commit criminal homicide, 6 counts; 5) arson, F1/F2, 4 counts; 6) criminal conspiracy to commit arson, F1/F2, 2 counts; and 7) recklessly endangering another person, M2, 3 counts.
An affidavit of probable cause filed with the complaints provides that in November 2010 the Pennsylvania State Police began an investigation into an arson that occurred at the Baney Trailer Park in Decatur Township. Upon investigation, it was found that on Nov. 3, 2010, a mobile home located at 116 Baney Road was intentionally set on fire. At the time of the fire, the mobile home was occupied by Phyllis Witherite, Michael Maines, and James Nevel. All three occupants escaped the fire unharmed.
Additionally, it was found that there was a second fire on Nov. 3, 2010, at a two-story residence located in Boggs Township. The residence was owned by William Nevel, the father of James Nevel. It was found that the structure was also intentionally set on fire, and there were no occupants inside at the time of its ignition.
Upon further investigation by the State Police, it was found that Deanna Nevel, Hilmer Harris, and another individual were involved in the planning and starting of the two fires. Police reports indicate that the fires were set in an effort to kill James Nevel because he had filed court documents seeking custody of children that James Nevel has with Deanna Nevel.