Man gets 16 years for his role in fire that destroyed farmhouse

Jonathan Warren Carroll pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary in fire that destroyed house on Hopewell Road

May 12, 2011|By DON AINES |

A Hagerstown man was sentenced this week in Washington County Circuit Court to eight years in state prison for his role in a 2010 fire that destroyed a vacant farmhouse, while an accomplice received a suspended sentence.

Jonathan Warren Carroll, 20, of 435 George St., pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary Monday in the Sept. 15 fire that destroyed the house on Hopewell Road near Hagerstown.

 Judge Daniel P. Dwyer gave Carroll 16 years in prison, suspending eight years and ordering a judgment in the favor of victim, Joan Baer, in the amount of $289,957, according to court records.

In exchange for the plea, charges of second-degree arson, first- and second-degree malicious burning and first-, third- and fourth-degree burglary were dismissed, court records said.

Jack Hilton Walker Sr., 54, of 220 N. Cannon Ave., Hagerstown, was scheduled for trial Thursday but, during jury questioning, opted to plead guilty to misdemeanor theft.

Deputy Fire Marshal Ed Ernst wrote in the application for statement of charges that firefighters found flames coming from the second floor of the farmhouse and were forced out by the heat and a partial roof collapse. He determined the fire started on the second floor and was not accidental.

About a month after the fire, Ernst spoke with a man who said he had loaned Walker his truck to pick up scrap metal and take it to a recycling company, the charging documents said. Walker returned several hours later with the truck loaded with copper, appliances, tools and farm equipment, the documents said.

Walker told the man that he — along with a 16-year-old juvenile relative and Carroll — had gone to a farmhouse on Hopewell Road and that Carroll and the boy had set it on fire, the documents said. Walker later took the 1,400 pounds of scrap to a recycling company.

Judge M. Kenneth Long gave Walker a three-year suspended sentence and 18 months of supervised probation.

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