Long Bottom man sentenced to prison for setting home on fire

By Sarah Hawley - shawley@civitasmedia.com

POMEROY — A Long Bottom man has been sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty on Wednesday to aggravated arson.

Dennis Persons pleaded guilty to the amended charge of aggravated arson, a second-degree felony. He was initially indicted on a first-degree felony charge of aggravated arson.

Immediately following the plea, Judge I. Carson Crow proceeded to sentence Persons in accordance with the plea agreement.

Crow sentenced Persons to a prison term of five years, with three years of community control (post-release control) following his release. Persons was also ordered to pay slightly more than $1,100 in restitution and must also register on the arson offender registry.

Meigs County Prosecutor James K. Stanley explained to the Sentinel that the first degree felony charge relates to the intentional harm of a person, while the second degree charge relates to the structure itself.

According to previous Sentinel reports, Persons reportedly set fire to his residence with his wife and her brother inside the residence on the morning of March 3, 2016.

Persons and his wife were reportedly able to leave the residence without injury, while her brother was injured.

Stanley said that he spoke with the victims in the case leading up to the plea hearing in the case.

While Persons’ wife did not want him to go to prison in the case, Stanley said, she understood that given the situation it was necessary.

On the other hand, the other victim in the case, his wife’s brother, was in favor of the five year prison sentence after not being in favor with a former proposed plea agreement, leading to Stanley scrapping that and working with a new offer.

In coming to a resolution in the case, Stanley said the victims were considered and that the agreement was made to keep the victims from having to testify in the case.

Stanley called it a traumatic and emotional experience for the victims.

Ultimately, Stanley said he would have liked to have gotten more of a prison sentence, but the five years was fair in the situation.

By Sarah Hawley