By Keith Gushard
Two Meadville area men will stand trial in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas on multiple counts of arson and other charges for allegedly vandalizing the Crawford County Youth Soccer Association fields and two other properties last month.
On Friday, Dakota Wayne Little, 21, of 9045 Perry Highway, Meadville, and Matthew Scott Kerr, 21, of 11067 Scarlet Ave., Meadville, each waived his right to a preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge William Chisholm on multiple charges filed by Pennsylvania State Police. With each waiving his right to a hearing, each man automatically is held for trial in county criminal court.
Little is charged with a total of 17 counts with 13 of them felonies, including two counts of arson, while Kerr is charged with a total of 16 counts with 13 of them felonies, including two counts of arson.
Police allege the two men broke into the CCYSA storage shed on Townline Road in West Mead Township between 1 and 5 a.m. Aug. 10, burning storage buildings, destroying equipment inside and taking a powered golf cart.
State police also accused Little and Kerr of burning down a garage on Schenenberg Road in Randolph Township; and breaking into Hanna’s Grocery store in Townville and stealing $520 worth of cigarettes, both during that same 1 to 5 a.m. time frame on Aug. 10.
Little is charged with a total of three counts each of arson and burglary; three counts each of criminal trespass and criminal mischief; two counts of theft by unlawful taking; and one count each of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property and terroristic threats. The terroristic threat charge stems from Little allegedly threatening to kill a female witness if she spoke about the incidents.
Kerr is charged with a total of three counts each of arson and burglary; three counts each of criminal trespass and criminal mischief; two counts of theft by unlawful taking; and one count each of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and receiving stolen property.
If convicted on all counts in Crawford County Court, Little faces up to 125 years in prison and $295,000 in fines while Kerr faces up to 120 years in prison and $285,000 in fines.
Little was returned to the Crawford County jail in lieu of $150,000 while Kerr was returned to the county jail in lieu of $20,000.
Chisholm agreed to lower Kerr’s bond from $50,000 on the recommendation of Trooper Phil Shaffer, the state police’s lead investigator in the case. Shaffer said Kerr had been cooperative in the investigation.
Crawford County Youth Soccer Association officials estimated the total dollar damage at $100,000 for the Aug. 10 vandalism at the group’s complex in West Mead Township. That amount is for the loss of two storage buildings, mowers and all equipment to run the program. Numerous organizations have donated cash and soccer equipment totaling more than $10,000 to the CCYSA program in the wake of the fire and vandalism.