Nazareth Woman Pleads Guilty to Arson

Karla Dewey admits Friday in Northampton County Court to setting fire to her townhome last March while her 3-year-old son was inside.

A Nazareth woman pleaded guilty Friday to setting her townhouse on fire last year.

Karla Dewey, 31, of Nazareth, admitted before Northampton County Judge Anthony Beltrami Friday to arson and welfare endangerment charges in connection with setting fire to the 40 N. Green St. home she rented with her 3-year-old son inside, the Morning Call reported.

Nazareth Police Chief Thomas Trachta said Friday that he would not comment on the case.

Dewey's defense attorney, Christopher Shipman, could not be reached for comment. Assistant District Attorney John Obrecht, who prosecuted the case, also could not be reached for comment.

Dewey was accused of starting a fire in March 2012 that destroyed the end unit of a row of townhouses at 40 N. Green St.—where she lived with her husband and their 3-year-old son, Cole. The blaze left Nazareth’s Center Square in a haze of smoke.

The Call reports that under her plea bargain, prosecutors withdrew charges that she lit a piece of poster board in a Nazareth church office in October 2009.

That arson case involved St. John's United Church of Christ, where Dewey was scheduled to attend choir practice.

In the N. Green Street blaze, three of five townhomes were affected and the American Red Cross of the Greater Lehigh Valley was called to assist five families (six adults and three children).

The affected properties are owned by Orwig Property Management. The estimated loss was $80,000.

After the N. Green Street fire, according to information previously supplied by Trachta, the senior pastor from St. John’s UCC provided video of Dewey allegedly lighting poster board on fire inside a church office.

According to a criminal complaint filed by Trachta, a surveillance camera shows Dewey entering a first-floor vacant office on Oct. 14, 2009.

In the video, Dewey is seen turning on the office light, stepping out of the camera’s view for about 30 seconds, then leaving the office soon after, the complaint states.

Dewey is scheduled to be sentenced on July 12.

Ben Miller May 10, 2013 at 08:20 PM
This makes me sick.
Ben Miller May 10, 2013 at 08:26 PM
To everybody who donated gift cards and items to the family through my fundraising campaign, please accept my sincerest apologies. At the same time, please know that your donations also went to help her husband, who was at work when she set the fire and her little boy, who was actually in the house when she set the fire. If it was just her that we helped, I would be irate right now (though I'm still angry). I do take comfort in knowing that we helped a little boy who's own mother nearly killed him and a husband who defended his wife for months, only to find out she betrayed him and endangered his son's life. God-forbid, if another family in Nazareth loses their home to a fire, I will be right there to help again. I refuse to let this woman change who I am or cause me to ignore another family in need. We can't control the things others do in this world, only how we allow them to affect us.
Avis May 11, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Wasn't someone else in jail, convicted of arson for a fire this woman had set? I hope that poor man is free now. This woman is sick. Let's hope her days of ruining other people's lives are over.


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