Man who set fire in Scranton building gets prison sentence

May 19—EDITOR’S NOTE — This article has been changed to correct an error. James William Lattimore did not plead guilty to burglary charges in 2014.

A Scranton man who authorities said set fire at a city building in June learned Monday he will spend the next 30 to 60 months in prison.

James William Lattimore, 43, apologized for the fire that displaced nine people from 825 W. Elm St., saying his “negligence” likely caused distress. Lattimore had been living there with a woman who kicked him out and he was “extremely emotionally distraught,” said his attorney, Sandra Stepkovitch.

“He didn’t intend this, he was just not in a mindset to make informed, educated decisions,” Stepkovitch told Lackawanna County Judge Michael J. Barrasse. “I don’t think you’re going to see him again in the future.”

City police charged Lattimore with arson for setting the fire June 17 that caused fire and water damage throughout the building’s first floor and smoke damage elsewhere.

No one was injured in the fire.

Stepkovitch acknowledged Lattimore has a criminal record but noted his last “meaningful conviction” came years ago. Lattimore pleaded guilty to drug offenses years ago.

As part of his sentence, Lattimore must spend four years on probation following his release.

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