Times Chronicle & Public Spirit

Man draws prison for hammer attack, arson

- By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@pottsmerc.com

NORRISTOWN » The ex-boyfriend of a Cheltenham woman is headed to prison after he admitted to breaking into the woman’s home, threatenin­g her brother with a hammer and setting the residence on fire after she ended their relationsh­ip.

Stephan R. Osbourne, 43, of the 5900 block of North Fifth Street, Philadelph­ia, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to 5 to 10 years in a state correction­al facility after he pleaded guilty to felony charges of arson endangerin­g persons, aggravated assault and burglary in connection with the May 2020 incident.

Judge Wendy G. Rothstein, who accepted a plea agreement in the matter, said Osbourne will receive credit for time he spent in jail from January 2021 while he was awaiting trial in the case.

Osbourne also must pay $1,000 in restitutio­n in connection with the case.

The investigat­ion began about 7:20 p.m. May 23, 2020, when Cheltenham police responded to a residence in the 100 block of Wilson Avenue, in the Glenside section of the township, for a report of a man using a hammer to smash a rear door and enter the residence, according to a criminal complaint.

“The male then smashed a large flat screen television with the hammer, than as he ran upstairs he said he was going to light a fire,”

police wrote in the arrest affidavit, adding the second floor of the residence was engulfed in flames when multiple fire department agencies arrived to extinguish the fire.

Investigat­ors found an empty charcoal lighter fluid container and two lighters on the floor of a bedroom in the home.

The woman who resided at the home, who was Osbourne’s ex-girlfriend, was not home at the time of the break-in and fire but her brother and her teenage son were inside the home at the time and escaped without injury, police said.

The woman told police that during several phone conversati­ons she had ended her relationsh­ip

with Osbourne and that Osbourne told her that he was on his way to her home, according to court papers. The woman called her brother and told him not to let Osbourne into the residence, police said.

The woman’s brother told police that Osbourne arrived at the home, knocked on the door and when no one answered went to the rear of the home and tapped on a sliding glass door.

“A loud bang was heard and Osbourne entered the interior of the residence swinging a hammer through the shattered sliding glass door. Upon entering, Osbourne was swinging the hammer asking (the woman’s brother) where his

sister was,” police said.

Osbourne used the hammer to smash the large screen television and swung the hammer at the head of the woman’s brother, who ducked to avoid being struck and then ran from the home. The woman’s son, who also ran from the home, told police Osbourne expressed that he was going to set the residence on fire, according to court papers.

Court documents do not indicate the amount of damage caused by the fire.

Other charges of terroristi­c threats, recklessly endangerin­g other persons, simple assault and harassment were dismissed against Osbourne as part of the plea agreement.

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