Friday, January 19, 2018

Laurel man admits to Park City arson

A Laurel man last week admitted to striking a match and setting ablaze mattresses and other items in a Park City garage for the purpose of destroying it in May of 2013.
Adam Scott Nelson, 24, appeared in 22nd Judicial District Court last Friday and pleaded guilty to one felony count of arson. As part of a plea agreement reached with the Stillwater County Attorney’s Office, prosecutors will recommend a 3-year deferred sentence to the Department of Corrections, five years of probation and $10,000 in restitution. Sentencing was scheduled for February.
According to court documents, a garage located next to a trailer home and behind the Park City Fire Hall was heavily damaged by an early morning fire on May 13, 2013 that was quickly ruled to be an arson by the state Fire Marshal and Stillwater County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Woody Claunch.
A deputy had seen Nelson in the area of the fire approximately one hour before the blaze started. At the fire scene, the deputy saw Nelson in the crowd of onlookers and asked if he had seen anything, to which Nelson said he had smelled smoke, gone outside and seen flames on the roof of the garage, according to court documents. Nelson told the deputy he then went inside the trailer house, where he was staying, and told the owner.
Park City fire crews found an old mattress and couch stacked against the northwest corner of the garage. Park City Fire Chief Bryan Bartholomew told investigators that Nelson told him he had seen the fire from inside the trailer and awakened his friend, who then reported it, according to court documents.
The first fireman on scene reported seeing Nelson dressed in black clothing standing on the north side of the garage as it was burning.
Nelson told Claunch he was inside the trailer house when he saw the flames. Nelson also had a cigarette lighter with him, but told Claunch he had quit smoking.
Claunch also noticed a “tarry substance” on the soles of Nelson’s shoes, that Nelson said was “dog crap.” When told his shoes were going to be taken for evidence, Nelson “became agitated,” told Claunch he could not take the shoes and that he was tired of “being accused of setting the fire and wanted a lawyer,” according to court documents