A Johnsonburg man has waived a preliminary hearing for allegations that he set fire to the former Johnsonburg Hotel in December.
Court records indicate that Andrew J. Higdon, 30, waived the hearing in January at the office of District Judge James Martin in Johnsonburg.
Higdon is charged with the following: four counts of arson-danger of death or bodily injury, first-degree felonies; arson-intent to destroy unoccupied building, arson-endangering property and burglary, second-degree felonies; criminal trespass, reckless burning/exploding-places uninhabited/unoccupied structure in danger of damage, reckless burning/exploding-property with value that exceeds $5,000, risking catastrophe and two counts of criminal mischief, third-degree felonies; false report and four counts of recklessly endangering another person, second-degree misdemeanors; and a summary charge.
Ridgway-based state police reported that the fire began at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 30 at the hotel, located at 615 E. Center St., Johnsonburg. The structure was recently purchased by Dream Investments LLC of Force, Pa.
Reports stated that Higdon approached a Johnsonburg police officer who was at the scene of the fire and claimed he saw an individual exit the hotel. He allegedly provided a description of the person, who was familiar to the officer; however, the officer was suspicious of Higdon’s assertions, as they did not seem plausible.
Witnesses reported to the officer that Higdon had been coming and going from the scene since 1 p.m., reports indicated.
While Higdon had initially told police he had never been inside the hotel, he told them during a subsequent interview there was “Satan graffiti” throughout the inside, according to reports. When police pointed out the discrepancy, Higdon allegedly confessed that he started the blaze on the third floor of the hotel.
Higdon remains incarcerated in lieu of $50,000 bail. He was scheduled to appear for a formal arraignment this past Monday in Elk County Court. DuBois attorney Michael Marshal is listed as his attorney.