Saturday, January 20, 2018

Adam Nelson

Park City arsonist gets DOC commitment, $10,000 in restitution

A Laurel man who burned a garage and its contents behind the Park City fire hall in 2013 was remanded into custody last Thursday under an 8-year sentence to the Department of Corrections (DOC).
Adam Nelson, 26, was sentenced by 22nd Judicial Court Judge Blair Jones, who suspended five of those eight years. Officials at the hearing said Adams will most likely be sent to a pre-release center after he is evaluated by the DOC.
“I’d like to apologize to the court and to the victim,” Adams said prior to sentencing.
He must also pay approximately $10,000 in restitution and adhere to 34 court-imposed conditions for the entire eight years. He will also be given credit for more than 100 days he spent in jail. The sentence was jointly recommended by the defense and the Stillwater County Attorney’s Office through a plea agreement.
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 Office.
A deputy had seen Nelson in the area of the fire approximately one hour before the blaze started. At the 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 Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office Chief Investigator Woody 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.

Pending Yellowstone County Case
Nelson is scheduled to go to trial next month in Yellowstone County on felony charges of aggravated assault, aggravated burglary, robbery, attempted arson and one misdemeanor count of criminal mischief, according to court documents filed by the Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office.
Those charges stem from a 2012 incident in which he allegedly broke into a home in Laurel, doused a man with lighter fluid and set him on fire, stole that man’s wallet and other personal property and then set the residence on fire, according to court documents.