Unusual Arson Sentence
A recent Seattle Superior Court sentence of a man found guilty of an arson fire, could, if applied to all such cases, have a significant impact on future arson trials.
The case involved an arson car fire in late December of last year. Because the fire threatened to engulf a nearby residence, the Seattfe Fire Department dispatched a 1-11—more equipment than is generally needed for a car fire. An empty gas can was found near the scene and a witness gave a perfect description of the suspect. He was later arrested, charged with second degree arson, and found guilty in a subsequent trial.
Superior Court Judge Stanley C. Soderland sentenced the man to six months in jail—suspended, another six months probation, and the payment of all court costs. In addition, he directed him to reimburse the fire department $500 (within six months) for restitution of their efforts in extinguishing the fire.
This is thought to be the first time such a sentence has been handed down. However, if this trend were to continue and if the arson fire was a multiple alarm requiring the calling of the off-shift, the sum could be sizeable.