CLEARFIELD – A Coalport man will be spending the rest of his life in state prison for setting a fire that killed a man.
Jonathan Mark Gallaher, 37, was found guilty after a trial in April, of multiple charges in connection with a fire on Main Street in Coalport last April that caused the death of Matthew Troxell, 33, of Roseland.
The trial, which lasted three days, began with testimony from the owners of the home, Mark and Lacy Wolfe, who both said Gallaher was in their home that evening. Smoke filled their upstairs shortly after he argued with Mark Wolfe and left.
The couple and Lacy Wolfe’s father, Harold Gustafson, were able to get out, but Troxell was trapped on the second floor where he died of smoke inhalation.
Afterwards, Gallaher went into a bar where he told people that he didn’t intend for Troxell to die and at one point he was seen crying in the bathroom, according to the affidavit.
When police initially talked with Gallaher, he was not questioned as a suspect because they hadn’t yet discovered it was an arson case.
By 2 a.m., the police spoke with Gallaher again because “all roads were leading to the defendant.”
During colloquy court on Monday, Gallaher’s attorney, Chris Pentz, argued that a life sentence was sufficient.
District Attorney Ryan Sayers noted there is no knowing “what can happen on appeal” or how sentencing procedures such as were made to juvenile lifers giving them a chance at parole several years later, can be altered.
He asked for consecutive sentences on the other charges in addition to the life sentence to be sure he stays in prison.
Judge Paul E. Cherry sentenced Gallaher to life in prison without parole with consecutive sentences totaling 24 to 80 years.
In all, Gallaher was guilty of second-degree murder, three counts of criminal attempt/second-degree murder, arson causing death, four counts of arson-danger of death or bodily injury, arson endangering property, four counts of aggravated arson-person present, causing a catastrophe, four counts of attempted aggravated assault, and two counts of criminal mischief, all felonies, as well as four misdemeanor counts of recklessly endangering another person.