The Richmond Register

February 18, 2012

Arson suspect back in jail after being charged with DUI

Was out on bond after being accused of setting fire in EKU dorm

By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — A former student accused of setting fire to an Eastern Kentucky University dorm returned to jail Thursday after he reportedly committed another crime while out on bond.

Samuel S. McFarland, 19, of Williamsburg, appeared in Madison Circuit Court wearing a bright orange jumpsuit with “Whitley Co. Jail” written on the back.

He was arrested Feb. 6 in Williamsburg on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (first offense) and reckless driving, according to the detention center’s website.

Madison Circuit Judge Jean C. Logue said she had issued a warrant for McFarland to appear at his scheduled pretrial hearing Thursday because she was concerned he might not show up if he bonded out on the DUI charge.

McFarland was arrested Oct. 14 for allegedly setting two hallway bulletin boards on fire in EKU’s Commonwealth Hall where he was a resident. The sprinkler system was activated, and the building was evacuated with no injuries, according to university spokesman Marc Whitt

McFarland is charged with first-degree arson, a Class A felony; first-degree criminal mischief; first-degree wanton endangerment; and first-degree promoting contraband, all Class D felonies. He also is charged with second-degree possession of a controlled substance, a Class A misdemeanor.

If convicted of first-degree arson, McFarland could receive a sentence of at least 20 years in prison. The Class D felonies are punishable by one to five years in jail.

McFarland was released Oct. 28 from the Madison County Detention Center on a $20,000 property bond. One condition of his release was having no further violations of law.

Logue remanded him to the custody of the Madison County Detention Center. She said that his attorney, Brandon West, could request a bond forfeiture hearing.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Smith said the state was not interested in pursuing the property that was posted for his revoked bond.

McFarland asked that he be sent back to the Whitley County jail because it was “closer to home.”

“My intention is not to send you back to Whitley County” to face a misdemeanor charge, Logue said.

West mentioned that he wanted to get his client into a rehab program, but Logue said that would be a consideration during a later court date.

McFarland is scheduled for another pretrial hearing March 22.

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