If Aaron Christopher Barth, 22, complies with the program's conditions — which include 12 months of supervision — he can file a motion asking the court to clear his record. The decision was not well received by the victim, who watched his childhood home burn to the ground.
Calvin Shifflett was at the site where he grew up while it was still smoldering and rapidly becoming unrecognizable.
"In regards to the burning of my home place — I wanted justice," Shifflett, executor of the Henry Cletus Shifflett Estate, wrote in an email. "The criminals were caught, they confessed, they were convicted and all they got was probation, ARD and restitution (of which the estate has seen $100 to date from all of them combined). What do I think? Well, that's not printable."
Barth was 18 when he entered the house at the intersection of Pike Run and Windy Run roads around 2 a.m. with two male friends. An incendiary device known as a Molotov cocktail was used to set the house on fire, according to court documents. The uninsured home was part of the Shifflett estate and was used for storing collectibles, according to family members. The elder Shifflett died earlier the same year.
Barth's two adult co-defendants — Graysen Randy Anderson, who was 18 at the time, and Jesse Preston Lepley, who was 19 — pleaded guilty May 7 to four counts of criminal mischief. They were sentenced to five years' probation. A juvenile was also charged and sentenced in the case.
President Judge John M. Cascio set restitution at $75,073, which includes the estimated value of items in the house. Each defendant is responsible for $18,768.25.
The Shifflett family has received little money and no apologies. According to the clerks of court, Lepley has paid $20 in restitution and $80 in court costs and fines. Lepley owes a total of $2,673.50 in court costs and fines. Anderson has paid $300 toward the $3,053.58 he owes in court costs and fines. He has paid nothing toward restitution. According to the Shifflett family, the juvenile has paid $80 in restitution.
Barth's inclusion in the ARD program was delayed because of a dispute over restitution, according to District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser. Barth, who is slated to graduate from college with honors, will still have to explain his placement in the ARD program to potential employers.
The district attorney's office controls who to recommend for placement in the ARD program.
"I re-evaluated Mr. Barth's situation and what he has done since," Lazzari-Strasiser said. "The purpose of the ARD program is to rehabilitate those who make a mistake. The last thing I want to do in this situation is eliminate a person from being a productive person in society."
For the past three years Barth has been on bail awaiting a resolution to his case.
"Now he will have another 12 months of supervision with ARD. He is not over it yet," she said.
Barth's attorney, Matthew Zatko of Somerset, was satisfied with the resolution of the case.
"It was a very fair resolution," he said. "He had absolutely nothing before this incident. Since this incident he did all the right things."
He called Barth's act on Aug. 21, 2009, "an absolute anomaly. It clearly was a big lapse of judgment."