Police Allege Man Set Apartment Fire, Then Threatened Victim

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A Pittsburgh man is being held in the Allegheny County Jail without bail after McKeesport police said he set another man's apartment on fire, and then threatened to come back and "finish the job."

Julien J. Sewell, 24, of Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood faces a preliminary hearing at 2:30 p.m. July 2 before Magisterial District Judge Eugene Riazzi in McKeesport.

A hearing originally scheduled for Monday was continued, court officials said.

McKeesport firefighters were called to an apartment in the 700 block of Ridge Street early on June 3 after callers reported smelling smoke. According to McKeesport police, firefighters arrived to find the door to the apartment unlocked, and paper plates on top of a stove, burning.

The resident was not at home, police said. The stove sustained fire damage and the kitchen received smoke damage, police said, and the Allegheny County Fire Marshal's Office was called to investigate.

On June 10, McKeesport police charged Sewell with multiple counts of arson as well as burglary, criminal mischief, criminal trespass, receiving stolen property, reckless endangerment, retaliation against a witness and intimidation of a witness. He was arrested and jailed in lieu of $40,000 bond, police said.

Two days later, police said, Sewell sent a Facebook message to the victim threatening to kill him and warning him to "watch your back." When the victim asked Sewell to stop messaging him, police said Sewell replied, "not until (I) finish the job."

Police said Sewell and the victim had worked together in Pittsburgh.

According to court officials, Sewell's bond was revoked and he was arrested again on June 17. McKeesport police said he now faces additional charges of retaliating against a witness or victim, making terroristic threats, stalking, intimidation of a witness and harassment by communications.

Originally published June 25, 2018.

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