Judge Cites “False Bravado” in Dueling Arson Confessions

April 9, 2012

A Pennsylvania judge who had to pick between dueling confessions in a 2008 arson case has denied a woman’s request for post-trial relief, saying the other possible culprit’s “false bravado” destroyed his credibility.

Lackawanna County Judge Vito Geroulo says Holly Dougher’s own confession, backed by an acquaintance who was with her the night of the fire, is more reliable than a later confession from a man now jailed for a number of other arsons.

Dougher pleaded guilty to a lesser misdemeanor charge a little more than a year after the fire in Carbondale Township. But last year Stephen Giacobbe told The Times-Tribune of Scranton he set the fire.

Geroulo said this week Giacobbe’s testimony was merely an attempt to paint himself as “an arch criminal” among his fellow inmates.

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