Fourth Circuit Judge Robert J. Sumsion set bail at $50,000 for the man being held in connection with the string of haystack fires along the Wasatch Front.
Bail was set for less than prosecutors wanted, but probably still high enough to keep Clark Reynolds in jail for awhile.Reynolds, 26, Cedar Hills, who is suspected of setting more than 25 fires from Sandy to Ephraim, appeared in court Tuesday for a bail hearing.
Reynolds was arrested Saturday night by Utah County sheriff's officers on a probation violation and is being held in the Utah County Jail. Charges in connection with the fires have not been filed.
Deputy County Attorney Phil Hadfield on Tuesday asked that Reynolds be held without bail or bail be set at $200,000. Reynolds also had an arson conviction as a juvenile. Hadfield said farmers will not rest easy if Reynolds is released.
"My concern is that those kinds of acts will continue," Hadfield said.
Stephen Madsen, a public defender appointed by Sumsion to represent Reynolds, said the Constitution says bail must be set at a reasonable amount. He said Reynolds is a lifelong resident of Utah County, and other than a class A misdemeanor theft conviction he has no prior record.
"Even murder is a bailable offense," Madsen said.
Sumsion admitted that bail must be set at a reasonable amount but questioned whether he should "take a chance under the system." He said arsonists are more dangerous than most people.
"I don't mean to demean the defendant," Sumsion said. "But he appears to have a problem that most of us don't have . . . and that causes the court concern."
In setting bail at $50,000, Sumsion said he is concerned about Reynolds' safety and is not sure if the purpose of bail is to protect the farmers from Reynolds or to protect Reynolds from the farmers.
"There are a lot of angry people out there," Sumsion said.