A Branchville New Jersey man recently pleaded guilty on arson charges related to fires at three area buildings.
According to Sussex County prosecutors, the 68-year-old suspect started two of the fires at a three-building storage area at Wilco Air Conditioning Refrigeration Heating. The facility is located on Mill Street in Branchville, New Jersey.
The suspect was also accused of starting a fire at a local warehouse operated by Habitat for Humanity Restore. The building is located on Milk Street in Branchville, New Jersey.
Branchville police investigated the blazes and caught a break in the case when an eyewitness came forward and reported seeing the suspect at the Wilco buildings shortly prior to one of the fires
Branchville police later tracked down the suspect at his home on Milk Street and arrested him. According to law enforcement, the suspect lived just a few blocks away from the sites of the fires.
Not long after being taken into custody, the suspect allegedly admitted to detectives that he set the fires. He was then charged with three counts of third degree arson.
The suspect recently appeared in Sussex County Superior Court and entered a guilty plea on the arson charges. He entered the plea after reaching a plea deal with Sussex County. As a result of the plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to drop criminal mischief charges.
The suspect must return to superior court in June for sentencing. Arson is classified as a third degree felony, which typically carries a sentence of 3-5 years in NJ State Prison. However, the terms of the suspect’s plea agreement should allow him to avoid prison time. Instead, he will likely be sentenced to 5 years of probation.
Additionally, the suspect will be required to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and pay monetary fines.
For more information about this case, read the NJ.com article entitled “Man Pleads Guilty to Setting 3 Fires Over 3 Years in Branchville.”