Man pleads guilty to arson in series of Indiana barn fires

October 25, 2022 GMT

GOSHEN, Ind. (AP) — A man has pleaded guilty in connection with a series of barn fires set last year in several northern Indiana counties.

An Elkhart County judge gave preliminary approval Monday to the plea agreement with Joseph Hershberger who was charged with eight counts of arson, the South Bend Tribune reported.

The fires were started in Elkhart, Kosciuosko, Marshall and St. Joseph counties between April and October in 2021. Eight of the fires were in Elkhart County, according to police.

Cellphone data placed Hershberger’s phone at the scene of several of the fires, according to court records.

He was arrested in December.

As part of the deal, prosecutors dismissed a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and placed an upper limit of 50 years on any sentenced imposed against Hershberger.

He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 21.

Sherry Thomas, his girlfriend, also was charged late last year with eight counts of arson.

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In addition, she and Hershberger also face charges connected to a fire at an Amish school in Marshall County. Some of the barns set ablaze belonged to members of Indiana’s Amish community.