Arsonist who caused $400K damage to 2 Mormon meetinghouses gets probation


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  • 22ozn44ozglass Southern Utah, UT
    July 30, 2011 5:52 p.m.

    This story is poorly reported, and this is simply not quality journalism. There is a storyline behind all of this and it is not being told. Being upset or angry at the LDS church to the point that you cause this much damage to a house of worship and potentially endanger human life, is not just some small disagreement or misunderstanding. This crime was done with fore thought and with malice.

    I hope that the PC police and the fear of offending/indicting someone or some special interest group is not preventing the real story and the actual truth from being told.

    If he was mad at being disciplined-so long as he disclosed that information-print it. If he was upset about a tenant of doctrine-tell us what it is. If he was upset by a recent action of the First Presidency, then state what it was. The whole story feels like someone is not telling the truth and that key detials are being ommitted due to politics and a fear of not upsetting people.

    I hope eventaully that some reporter will have the courage not to bow to the PC police on this story.

  • justbecause SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 27, 2011 9:30 p.m.

    His parents would have to be really careful in what they said about their son, wouldn't they? Just because they didn't make a statement about his mental health does not mean they weren't aware there were problems.

  • Maryquilter Farmington, UT
    July 27, 2011 1:26 p.m.

    @Clark Kent: If a first time offender walked into your $500,000 house and burned it to the ground, would you want to give him a slap on the wrist and give him/her probation?? I think not.

    @Mightmite: Give me a break, just because this guy is a member of the same church as me does not mean I think he should not be fully accountable before the law when he knowingly and premeditatively committed arson!

    @Delta Foxtrot: Are you a pilot? We used to own a plane with Delta Foxtrot as part of the call number?

    The arsonist's parents said they had no idea what the motive was and did not state that their son was in such a diminished mental capacity as to reduce his culpability. I read nothing in the article entailing any known severe mental illness. Did I miss something here? This all seems very strange or else very incapably reported.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    July 27, 2011 10:42 a.m.

    Judge Atherton will not be getting my vote in her next retention election. Probation for 1st degree felonies? To quote Vizzini, "Inconceivable". It appears to be a case of a judge being totally out of touch with reality. The last judge in that state of mind was Leslie Lewis. She got voted out of office due to her inconsistant behavior.

  • Ok Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 27, 2011 7:03 a.m.

    One thing for sure, he's out and about, keep an eye on your church. It could be next.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    July 27, 2011 12:39 a.m.

    RBN: I agree with you. There are other issues involved that we don't know about and condemning the legal system or the judge in this case might be premature until more of the facts of the case (i.e. mental or emotional problems) are revealed.

  • Dadof5sons Montesano, WA
    July 27, 2011 12:19 a.m.

    Well when the fails lets just turn it over the one who right is to met out judgement.

  • justbecause SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 26, 2011 10:12 p.m.

    He's already spent almost a year in jail, that's hardly 'no jail time' as some of you are saying.

  • George Bronx, NY
    July 26, 2011 7:47 p.m.

    It is funny how many people that had nothing to do with a case want their pound of flesh.

  • RBN Salt Lake City, UT
    July 26, 2011 7:03 p.m.

    It's pretty obvious that there are mental illness issues at play here, and that probation allows Mr. Ehat to get the help he clearly needs. Rehabilitation should be a major goal of the criminal system. I don't have a problem with a little mercy, compassion, and rehabilitation.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    July 26, 2011 6:27 p.m.

    Does this mean that I can break the laws I want and get off the hook? (sarcasm)

  • Hawkyo SYRACUSE, UT
    July 26, 2011 6:16 p.m.

    I think the punishment is a little on the weird side. He obviously won't be able to make full restitution as that would require over 30 years to pay back at $1000 a month! Anybody here make enough money to pay that kind of dough in restitution each month?
    And no jail time, or at least state hospital time if the guy is unstable. Get the guy some help, but get him off the street till he gets the help please!

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 26, 2011 6:03 p.m.

    "Do you always turn on your fellow brotheren when times are thin? "

    When times are thin? You make it sound like they're shunning a member who lost his job in this economy and is begging for money, which is rather different than 'guy who torches your church'.

  • mightymite DRAPER, UT
    July 26, 2011 5:39 p.m.

    The dude is LDS, where is the compassion? Do you always turn on your fellow brotheren when times are thin?

  • Lone Star Cougar Plano, TX
    July 26, 2011 5:17 p.m.

    Somehow this doesn't make sense.

    Please, Deseret News, advise more on this story as it begs to be told.

    Unless there is something drastically missing in this story, Judge Judith Atherton needs to be held responsible. The DA needs to be added to that list too.

  • bobosmom small town, Nebraska
    July 26, 2011 4:42 p.m.

    Wasnt she the same judge that refused to forcibly medicate Brian David Mitchell when he was at the state hospital?

  • TripleCrown Santa Ana, CA
    July 26, 2011 3:57 p.m.

    3rd District Judge Judith Atherton. Remember the name.

  • Devin American Fork, UT
    July 26, 2011 3:21 p.m.

    Yes Clarkkent, it would make me and a lot of other people happier. That's why we pay taxes, to keep individuals like this behind bars facing the justice that they deserve! This is a ridiculous case of the judge looking the other way, and a perfect example of how flawed our legal system can be.

  • BP Salt Lake City, UT
    July 26, 2011 2:47 p.m.

    I believe this was probably a wise sentence, though I am a bit surprised by it. I think the judge showed a lot of compassion, due to the defendant's mental illness and the fact that it was his first cluster of offenses.

    I attend one of the buildings that was burned. While it was difficult dealing with the aftermath of this crime (I won't call it a hate crime, due to this individual's diminished mental and emotional capacities), many of us felt sympathy for the man, and especially his family, as details about his situation came to light. I hope he gets the help that he needs, and that he may have the mental stability become a productive member of society.

    While I appreciate the good intentions of those that are (and will) voice their disappontment over the light nature of his sentence, remember that he will deal with his mental illness and fallout from this act for the rest of his life, whether or not he spends any time in jail.

  • caleb in new york Glen Cove, NY
    July 26, 2011 2:45 p.m.

    The $400,000 amount seems kind of low to me.

    Even if that's the right amount, I doubt a mentally unstable guy like this is going to earn $400,000 anytime soon to make full restitution.

  • ClarkKent Bountiful, Utah
    July 26, 2011 2:42 p.m.

    Well we could spend thousand and thousands of dollars having a trial and then sentence this apparent first time offender to prison and spend thousands and thousands of dollars housing him in prison. Would that make some of you happier?

  • Sarah B SLC, UT
    July 26, 2011 2:40 p.m.

    Let's hope the next fire he causes doesn't kill anyone. I'm curious about the judge's feellings toward the LDS church. I wonder if it had been a meetinghouse of a different faith, if the sentencing would be different.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    July 26, 2011 2:19 p.m.

    If this had been Utah House Majority Leader he would have gotten a standing ovation instead.

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    July 26, 2011 2:17 p.m.

    It would definitely be helpful to hear/read the details of this case and why such a decision was made.
    Very difficult to understand, particularly in the light of other recent sentencing.

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    July 26, 2011 1:57 p.m.

    Standard, it was his first offense. If he breaks probation he goes to jail. Sounds more like a tragic story than a hardened criminal causing fires.
    The judge is the person responsible AI... and he showed mercy and justice. Not to your liking?

  • dave Park City, UT
    July 26, 2011 1:54 p.m.

    Wow! There must have been circumstances not mentioned in the article for such a light sentence. I would think a bit of time in jail or prison would be warranted.

  • DeltaFoxtrot West Valley, UT
    July 26, 2011 1:52 p.m.

    How's that for "turn the other cheek?"

    Are you feeling that justice has been done?

  • WhatsGoingOnHere Ogden, UT
    July 26, 2011 1:47 p.m.

    This is a crime that cost an estimated $400,000. If someone had embezzled that amount of money they would not have been given probation only. I feel this person has committed a hate crime, and has gotten away with out any punishment. Something is wrong with this one.

  • TripleCrown Santa Ana, CA
    July 26, 2011 1:43 p.m.

    Suspended sentence and probation for an admitted double arsonist?!?!?!?!?
    Please post the name of the judge so that the people can vote accordingly if he/she attempts to run for re-election.

  • Anonymous Infinity American Fork, UT
    July 26, 2011 1:09 p.m.

    Who in the world is responsible for the sentence in this arson? The is outrageous. How can this individual compensate the church for the damage? This is another example of the atrocious legal system. Unbelievable.