By Keith Gushard
A Mercer County man who admitted he was wrong to vandalize his former East Fairfield Township home earlier this year told Crawford County Court of Common Pleas Judge John Spataro on Tuesday he was justified in doing so.
Gary R. Vogan Jr., 32, of 13 W. Creek Road, Carlton, was sentenced Tuesday by Spataro to serve one to two years in state prison for criminal trespass, a third-degree felony, for vandalizing his former home at 6209 Pettis Road between 11:30 p.m. Jan. 12 and 9 a.m. Jan. 13.
Vogan, who pleaded guilty in county court to the criminal trespass charge May 28, could have received up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
Vogan said that when he sold the home to oil and gas company Range Resources almost two years ago, company officials had promised him they would have people living in the home and wouldn’t “destroy my pasture or my fields, but that’s exactly what they did.”
The home is near Range Resources’ Lippert Unit 1H well, the first Utica Shale natural gas well drilled in Crawford County.
State police charged Vogan with entering the home in January without the consent of Range Resources and breaking glass, knocking holes in the walls and removing a portion of water pipe which caused significant flood damage. Vogan also damaged turf in the property’s yard with his Ford F-250 pickup truck, bringing total estimated damage costs to an excess of $5,000, according to the criminal complaint filed in the case.
Vogan told Spataro Tuesday that he “never wanted to hurt anyone” and that “my family has to suffer” by Vogan’s going to prison.
However, Spataro admonished Vogan for his actions.
“This was uncalled for,” Spataro said Tuesday. “You clearly overreacted. You should have thought this through. You can’t take matters into your own hands.”
In addition to serving the one to two years in jail with one day of credit, Spataro ordered Vogan to pay court costs, a $300 fine and make $5,025.90 in restitution to Range Resources, which purchased the home from Vogan in September 2011.
Range Resources purchased the home and 31 acres of property from Vogan for $170,000, according to public records filed at the Register and Recorder’s Office at the Crawford County Courthouse. The deal was signed Sept. 23, 2011, and recorded Sept. 27, 2011.
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.