The Richmond Register

Crime

December 13, 2012

Man accused of EKU dorm arson pleads guilty to amended charges

RICHMOND — A man accused of setting fires in an EKU dorm last year went from facing the possibility of life in prison to a chance he will serve no time in prison as long as he follows the terms of a mediated plea agreement.

Samuel McFarland, 20, of Williamsburg, pleaded guilty Thursday to first-degree criminal mischief, first-degree wanton endangerment and second-degree possession of a controlled substance (amphetamine).

Charges of first-degree arson, a Class A felony with a possible sentence of 20 years to life in prison, and promoting contraband were dismissed.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Smith recommended sentences of three years each for the criminal mischief and wanton endangerment felonies, to run concurrently with a 12-month sentence for drug possession. Smith also recommended the entire sentence be diverted for five years if McFarland followed the terms of a mediated agreement.

The plea deal was crafted through the court’s felony mediation program. Both the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office and McFarland’s defense attorney presented summaries of their cases to a senior judge who then assisted both sides, with input from the victimized party, to come to an agreement about the appropriate punishment.

McFarland must pay a “reasonable” restitution to the university, the details of which have not been finalized, according to Smith. She did say an amount of $40,000 had been discussed with school officials, the majority of which was to repair damage caused by water from the sprinklers.

During the supervised five-year diversion, McFarland must undergo alcohol and drug testing and an evaluation, have a mental health evaluation, comply with treatment recommendations and have no further violations of the law, according to the mediation agreement.

If McFarland violates any of those provisions during the next five years, he will have to serve the three-year prison sentence.

During his change-of-plea hearing, McFarland said sprinklers were going off in his room on Oct. 14, 2011, and he hit them with a broom in an attempt to disable them. He also said he used scissors to cut the wires in the sprinklers.

“I tried to stop them because there wasn’t a fire anymore,” McFarland said.

When Judge Jean C. Logue asked how the fires started, McFarland said “I have no idea about that.”

Smith said McFarland’s explanation was sufficient for the guilty plea to the amended charges.

McFarland was originally accused of setting fire to two hallway bulletin boards in Commonwealth Hall, according to EKU spokesperson Marc Whitt. The sprinkler system activated, and the building was evacuated with no injuries, Whitt said.

McFarland’s sentencing is set for 1:30 p.m. Feb. 7.

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.

1
Text Only
Crime
  • 7-25 William Gilbert.jpg Four arrested on meth charges at Berea motel

    Berea Police arrested four people Wednesday at the Knights Inn on Chestnut Street, including a man they said tried to conceal a meth lab on his person.

    July 24, 2014 5 Photos

  • 7-24 Justin Smith.jpg One arrested, one sought in Sunday home invasion

    Two men in search of another man broke into a Keystone Drive home Sunday and harassed residents in another nearby home Monday, according to a Richmond Police report.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • RPD: Man falls through ceiling attempting to elude police

    When Richmond Police went to Cody Shelton’s Kristin Drive apartment at 9:44 p.m. Wednesday to arrest him on a parole-violation charge, they said he attempted to elude them by hiding in the attic crawl space.

    July 18, 2014

  • Man indicted in Manhattan Club shooting

    A man charged in a May 20 shooting at the Manhattan Club in which a man was wounded was indicted Wednesday by a Madison County grand jury.

    July 17, 2014

  • 7-18 Aaron Tate.jpg Local burglary suspect found in Texas border town

    A man wanted in Madison County on burglary and criminal mischief charges since March was arrested July 11 by the U.S. Marshal Service in Brownsville, Texas, on the Mexican board.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mother pleads guilty to allowing child rape

    Deanna Lawson, charged with 20 counts of complicity in the rape and sodomy of a minor, pleaded guilty in Madison Circuit Court on Wednesday.
    Between October 2011 and September 2012, Eric Kelley had sexual relations with Lawson’s two daughters, according to court documents.
    She was charged with complicity after police said they learned Lawson knew of the crimes but didn’t try to stop them or alert authorities.

    July 12, 2014

  • No extra jail time for parents on prostitution charge

    Anthony and Kathy Hart, two Madison County residents who pleaded guilty May 21 to prostituting their daughters, won’t be seeing any extra time in jail.
    Both parents, who served time in jail while their charges were pending, were sentenced to probation Thursday in Madison Circuit Court.

    July 11, 2014

  • RPD arrests three on drug charges

    A couple is facing several charges after police said they sold drugs to an undercover officer late last year.
    In December 2013, the Richmond Police Narcotics Unit purchased a quantity of suboxone strips from Ryan Anderson, 30, and Chastity L. King, 28, on two occasions during a covert investigation, according to an RPD news release.

    July 11, 2014

  • Charges reduced against Detroit man who tried to elude police

    A Detroit man who led police in a brief vehicle chase May 8 and then attempted to hide in a ditch will spend 120 days in jail after pleading guilty to reduced charges Wednesday in Madison District Court.

    July 9, 2014

  • 7-10 Robert Farra.jpg Early Wednesday traffic stop leads to meth arrest

    An early Wednesday traffic stop by Madison County Sheriff’s deputies led to the driver’s arrest on meth-making charges.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

What county fair attraction do you like most?

Amusement rides
Beauty pageants
Flora Hall craft exhibits
Horse shows
Livestock, poultry shows
Truck, tractor pulls
Mud, dirt races
Gospel sing
I like them all
     View Results