Pleading guilty to arson for intentionally setting a fire to a bulletin board on the exterior of Meadville's historic Market House may earn a Conneautville woman up to seven years in jail.
Courtney I. Renninger, 26, of 313 Prospect St., pleaded guilty in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas Thursday before President Judge Anthony Vardaro to a third-degree felony charge of arson by reckless burning or exploding in connection with the Nov. 27, 2016, incident. The charge has a maximum penalty of seven years in jail and a $15,000 fine.
Renninger was charged by Meadville Police Department with third-degree felonies of criminal mischief and arson by reckless burning or exploding; ungraded misdemeanors of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia; and a summary count of dangerous burning.
Renninger used a lighter to intentionally ignite several papers on a cork bulletin board on the exterior of the Market House, damaging the board and the building, according to a police affidavit. Renninger was spotted by two men who were eating in a restaurant across the street — one worked to put out the fire while the other chased after Renninger.
Built in 1870, the Market House is the oldest continuously-run market building in Pennsylvania. It's a place that sells local produce, eggs, meat, home-baked goods, local organic goods, gourmet goods and artisan crafts.
Renninger also entered guilty pleas before Vardaro on drug charges in two unrelated cases.
She pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of a controlled substance filed by city police for an incident in Meadville on Aug. 17, 2016. The charge has a maximum of up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Renninger pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia filed by Pennsylvania State Police at Meadville for an incident in Conneautville on Sept. 16, 2016. The charge has a maximum of up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Renninger remains held in the county jail in Saegertown in lieu of a total of $18,000 bond. She is scheduled to be sentenced by Vardaro in all three cases on June 9.
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.