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Man sentenced in trash bin fires

September 25, 1997

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

A Hagerstown man convicted Tuesday of torching the House of Kobe restaurant on the Dual Highway was sentenced to 120 days in jail Wednesday for four unrelated trash bin fires.

Kevin Augustus Cotton, 30, entered an Alford plea to four counts of malicious burning in Washington County District Court, according to court records.

Under an Alford plea, a defendant admits the state has enough evidence to convict, but does not admit guilt.

Washington County District Judge Noel Spence imposed the maximum 30-day sentence on each count, court records said. Five other counts of malicious burning were dismissed in exchange for the pleas.

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A co-defendant, Richard Loudin, was to stand trial on similar charges today in Washington County District Court.

Arsonists targeted nearly a dozen trash bins and a mailbox in the early morning hours of Dec. 30, sending firefighters all across Hagerstown for more than three hours.

At 2:04 a.m., the first call came in for a trash bin at 22 Manor Drive, fire officials said.

Fire officials found several trash bins and a mailbox on fire.

As units were clearing those incidents, a came came in at 3:05 a.m. for a trash bin at McDonald's Restaurant on the Dual Highway, fire officials said.

At 3:34 a.m., firefighters went to the Baltimore Street Car Wash for another trash bin that had been set on fire.

A trash bin to the rear of the Department of Social Services in the 100 block of North Potomac Street was the next target at 3:57 a.m.

Then at 5:03 a.m., firefighters discovered that a fire had been set earlier in a trash bin behind 82 W. Washington St. but it was out.

Cotton and Loudin were implicated in those fires in late March.

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