Eight charges filed in Tidioute arson case

Nicholas C. Cochran, 24, was arraigned before District Justice Laura Bauer on Monday afternoon on eight third-degree felony counts of arson and related charges, and one felony charge of criminal mischief for a string of fires in Tidioute on Sunday, June 1.

Bauer asked Cochran if he had read and understood the charges, and he replied, “Yes, your Honor.”

She asked if he still resided in Sheffield, which is listed as his last known address, and he replied that he had been evicted, spent some time at a friend’s house. “At the time (of the arsons), I was living with my aunt in Tidoute,” Cochran said.

She then explained the charges against him, noting that each of the felonies carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison, and a $15,000 fine, and noted that he had allegedly caused approximately $80,000 in damages to seven vehicles and a concession stand.

Bauer also said that he had been seen at the concession stand minutes before it started smoking, and that he had admitted to the Pennsylvania State Police that he had set the fires.

She set bail at $200,000, and told him he was scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, July 30.

Arresting officer Stephen Vincent, Tidioute Borough Police Department, said the investigation was a cooperative effort among Tidioute, the state police and the Warren County Sheriff’s Office. He said that to this day, driving through Tidioute even late at night, lights are on and people are looking out their windows. “We’ve pretty much been working night and day until this morning (Monday),” he said.

Following the hearing, Cochran said to those in attendance, “The next morning, I woke up and thought ‘What the hell did I do?'”

“Mr. Cochran setting fire to random vehicles and a concession stand in Tidioute is a senseless act of violence in which fortunately no one was injured”, said Warren County District Attorney Robert Greene. “The arsons caused in excess of $80,000 in damage to personal property.”

Greene went on to say, “Chief Steven Vincent of the Tidioute Police Department and the Pennsylvania State Police deserve praise for their investigation and exemplary police work in putting this arsonist behind bars”.