Three Kansas City men convicted in the 2008 arson-destruction of the popular Hereford House restaurant have 14 days to appeal their sentences. The terms range from 15 to 20 years.
Fifteen years are ordered for landmark-restaurant owner Rod Anderson, depicted at trial as suffering in the throes of financial failure and desperate for the fire insurance money.
There was trial evidence Anderson had tapped his children’s trust funds and his mother’s IRA, trying without success to stave off bankruptcy.
Anderson was the most publicly visible of the three men charged. He often appeared in his own commercials for his steakhouse.
Vincent Pisciotta will be 79-years-old when next free, if he serves his entire 20 year sentence. U.S. District Judge Greg Kays said from the bench it was clear Pisciotta was seen on evidence videotape arranging the burning with Anderson.
Defenders say the investigation is incomplete, even as three men are going to prison. U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson spoke on wind swept steps of the federal courthouse when the hearing was over.
“There is a fourth unindicted co-conspirator that we are still looking for. But the jury spoke 10 months ago on the guilt of these three defendants," she said.
Evidence showed Pisciotta and defendant Mark Sorrnetino and the fourth man carrying 14 gas cans into the 20th and Main landmark.
The cans were punctured to leak their contents, the sprinkler system turned off and the gas ignited by remote control in October 2008.
Sorrentino was sentenced to 15 years.
Judge Kays said It was “a miracle” no one was hurt or died in the fierce blaze.