A man accused of trying to set fire to an apartment complex with 75 people inside said Tuesday his diagnosed bipolar disorder is under control and he’s not a threat.
Alaric Harden, 37, pleaded no contest last month to a charge of attempted second-degree arson after burning paper and scorching a wall in an apartment building at 1626 D St. Witnesses told police he screamed an obscenity-laced tirade in the hallway, saying he would burn down the building if he was evicted.
Officers found paper-covered burners turned on and paper stuffed inside electrical outlets. The total cost of damage was about $2,000, according to a claim filed by the building owners.
While in jail, Harden was accused of assaulting another inmate and was charged with third-degree assault, which he also pleaded no contest to in October.
During a sentencing hearing Tuesday, defense attorney Robert Hays asked for probation, saying Harden was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and that his new prescription has made an "amazing difference” in his behavior.
If given probation, Hays argued Harden would be in a better position to make monthly restitution payments of $100 a month.
Lancaster County District Judge Susan Strong sentenced Harden to 250 days in jail. With good time, he could serve 133 days of that sentence and will be given 121 days' credit for time served. He will serve 36 months of probation after his release.
“I was depressed for a long time,” Harden said at the hearing. “I was upset and I know my actions should have been more appropriate.”