Wildland arsonist sentenced in Knox County

Press Release Date: Friday, March 02, 2007

FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 2, 2006) - The Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF) announced today the sentencing of a Knox County resident in a wildland arson case. Jessie Joe Brown, of Mills Creek, was sentenced Wednesday after being charged with 10 Class D felony counts of wildland arson.

Brown, 21, entered an Alford plea, in which a defendant does not admit guilt but concedes there is enough evidence to convict. He was sentenced to 30 days house arrest and two years probation. He was also required to pay $500 for a tracking ankle bracelet, in addition to other court and legal costs.

On Feb. 1, the KDF was dispatched to fight several fires in the Mills Creek area. Firefighters noticed fresh hoof prints and witnessed Brown riding away from the fire on horseback. The charges stem from wildland fires that were set near his home on property owned by another citizen. There were 10 separate fire sets, all believed to have been by Brown. The fires burned 4 acres.

The division worked with Knox County Attorney Charlie Dixon Green and Assistant County Attorney Gilbert Holland. "We appreciate the support we get from county attorneys and hope this sends a message to arsonists statewide that this crime will not be tolerated," said Leah MacSwords, director of KDF. "Wildland arson is often thought of as a victimless crime, but, in truth, we are all victims when our forests are burned."

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