Comments about ‘Arsonist who caused $400K damage to 2 Mormon meetinghouses gets probation’

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Published: Tuesday, July 26 2011 12:00 p.m. MDT

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Anonymous Infinity
American Fork, UT

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.

Santa Ana, CA

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.

Ogden, UT

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.

West Valley, UT

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

Are you feeling that justice has been done?

Park City, UT

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.


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?

no fit in SG
St.George, Utah

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.

Salt Lake City, UT

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

Sarah B

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.

Bountiful, Utah

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?

caleb in new york
Glen Cove, NY

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.

Salt Lake City, UT

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.

American Fork, UT

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.

Santa Ana, CA

3rd District Judge Judith Atherton. Remember the name.

small town, Nebraska

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

Lone Star Cougar
Plano, TX

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.


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

Salt Lake City, UT

"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'.


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!

A voice of Reason
Salt Lake City, UT

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

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