Jacob Colin Hess pleads guilty to arson; can attend college, play football

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - An 18-year-old man has pleaded guilty to his role in a series of western Maryland arsons but will be permitted to attend college this fall.

Jacob Colin Hess pleaded guilty Friday in Washington County to conspiracy to commit first-degree malicious burning.

Hess, of Clear Spring, is one of eight people accused in the fires in Frederick and Washington counties. He was charged in one fire, the burning of a car, in March.

The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown reports the sentence was deferred so Hess can attend Bethany College in West Virginia, where he has a Merit Scholarship and was recruited to play football.

His agreement calls for a three-year suspended sentence, but he'll serve Christmas break in the county detention center and must perform community service and testify against co-defendants.{ }{ }