Scranton Man’s Sentence In Deadly Arson-for-hire Scheme Stands

February 12, 2019

SCRANTON — A Scranton man who faces 10 to 20 years in state prison for the death of his brother in a 2015 botched arson-for-hire plot will not get a break on the sentence.

Lackawanna County President Judge Michael J. Barrasse today denied a motion to reconsider the sentence he imposed Jan. 10 on Diomedes Ceballos.

Ceballos, 61, pleaded guilty in August to third-degree murder in the death of his brother, Aurelio Ceballos, along with a charge of aggravated arson.

Investigators accused Diomedes Ceballos of paying his brother $5,000 to torch his home at 319 12th Ave. on July 18, 2015, in an attempt to collect on a $500,000 insurance policy.

Aurelio Ceballos, 57, used gasoline to start the fire but set his clothing ablaze in the process, leaving him badly burned. He died of his injuries the following day.

Attorney William Thompson, who represents Diomedes Ceballos, told Barrasse at a brief hearing on the reconsideration motion that he had no new evidence to present.

However, he asked the judge to take into account the evidence contained in the defendant’s presentence report, plus the statements of 27 character witnesses, in considering a lesser sentence.

Diomedes Ceballos was present at the hearing but did not address the judge.

Deputy District Attorney Brian Gallagher spoke in opposition to the motion.

Under the sentence, Diomedes Ceballos will spend 20 years on probation after his release from prison and will be required to pay restitution of about $20,000.

Some of the money will go to neighbors whose homes were damaged by the two-alarm fire, which also injured a city firefighter.

Contact the writer: dsingleton@timesshamrock.com, 570-348-9132

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