Cornell Gets 10-Year Sentence For Second-Degree Arson

MAYVILLE – A Panama man will remain behind bars after his sentencing in Chautauqua County Court on Monday afternoon.

Barak Cornell, 57, was handed a 10-year determinate sentence with five years of post-release supervision for second-degree arson.

Cornell initially pleaded guilty on Dec. 8, 2008, 11 months after he allegedly spilled fire accelerants on the deck of his neighbor’s home and lit them with a cigarette. The neighbor, Jeff Lubi, was reportedly sleeping inside with his family at the time. All of the family safely escaped.

The Panama man was convicted in 2011. However, despite Cornell’s guilty plea and a sentence of 14 years in prison with five years of post-release supervision, the case was appealed and overturned on procedural grounds.

Cornell was convicted for a second time in April 2011, with the additional charges of third-degree criminal mischief and three counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, all leading to a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and five years of post-release supervision.

In October 2013, this again was appealed and overturned on procedural grounds.

In May, Cornell accepted a plea agreement that shortened his sentence.

See Tuesday’s edition of The Post-Journal for a complete report.