SUNBURY - A 51-year-old Shamokin man scheduled to enter a guilty plea several times on burglary-related charges involving a fire and break-in at two Shamokin properties has decided to take the cases to trial.

Kevin Kish, who is being represented by special conflicts counsel Susan Schwartz, changed his mind Monday afternoon on entering pleas in the cases because the defendant claims he didn't commit the crimes.

Northumberland County Judge William H. Wiest, who told Kish he wasn't going to grant any more continuances, ordered the defendant to stand trial in January.

Northumberland County Assistant District Attorney William Cole said he was expecting Kish to plead guilty to two counts of burglary and one count of criminal mischief.

When asked outside the courtroom what prompted his change of mind, Kish replied, "They wanted me to plead guilty to a crime I didn't commit and I'm not going to do that."

He remains free on $5,000 unsecured bail.

The cases were continued by Wiest in October at Schwartz's request because a plea agreement was still being negotiated. At that time, Kish told The News-Item authorities were trying to charge him with additional offenses, while his attorney was attempting to have the burglary charges dismissed.

Kish is charged by Shamokin Patrolman and Fire Investigator Raymond Siko II with criminal mischief, criminal trespass and burglary relating to a Jan. 24 fire at a vacant building at 725 N. Shamokin St., Shamokin, which is located across the street from where he lived at the time. He was not charged with arson because he allegedly didn't intentionally set the fire, which was ignited by a lit cigarette, police said.

He also is charged by Shamokin Cpl. Darwin Tobias III two counts each of burglary, criminal trespass and criminal conspiracy and one count of loitering and prowling at night in connection with a Feb. 5 break-in at Nature's Health Food Store, 133-135 E. Independence St.