WILKES-BARRE — Gail Schneider left the Luzerne County Courthouse in tears, preparing to spend 14 to 28 years in prison.
She received the harshest punishment for setting a fire that destroyed the lantern lane apartments and several businesses in Conyngham in September 2010. Investigators say Schneider did it after she was evicted from apartment complex. Nicole Buak was one of the people who was displaced in that fire.
“It`s better than what I expected. Now this is the final page in the chapter. And now I can officially move on and not have to worry about it anymore,” said fire victim Nicole Buak.
Buak told Schneider in court that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after the fire, and she wasn’t the only victim who had trouble moving on. Some of the people who lived at the Lantern Lane apartments were in their 90s.
“They loved their apartments they loved living there. And at that age, they had the opportunity to live independently and feel safe, and that was taken from them,” said Assistant District Attorney Shannon Crake.
“I stopped screaming in my sleep so that`s good.”
In April, a jury found Schneider guilty of seven counts of arson and related charges. In addition to the time in state prison, Schneider owes more than $1.2 million in restitution. Lantern Lane owner Ken Temborski says Schneider is getting what she deserves.
“Again, nobody`s a winner here, and nobody`s claiming a victory. But I think now we can bring some closure,” said Lantern Lane owner Ken Temborski.
Again,Schneider owes more than $1.2 million in restitution. The assistant district attorney on the case says it’s unlikely she would ever pay it back in full, but she says some of the insurance companies could file liens to get against Schneider and her assets to get payment.