The Richmond Register

Local News

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
Local News
  • 8-1 Bees 2.jpg Bee-ing in the know

    Bee lovers were buzzing around Eastern Kentucky University this week for the Eastern Apicultural Society’s 2014 conference.
    Hobbyists, scientists and apiarists traveled from as far as Canada, France and New Zealand, as well as many states, to spend the week exploring numerous aspects of bees.

    July 31, 2014 8 Photos

  • 8-1 Tanya R. Horn.jpg Store employee charged with taking $10,000

    Tanya R. Horn, 33, of Darlene Court, pilfered $10,196 in cash from Posh Tots on Meridian Way over the course of two years, according to a Richmond Police report.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-30 Candids 1.jpg Madison County Fair paid admissions total 10,000 by Tuesday

    Approximately 10,000 people had purchased tickets to the Madison County Fair by Tuesday evening, Billy Tudor, fair board president said Wednesday morning.
    The count does not include Sunday’s Family Fun Day, which offered free admission, Tudor said.

    July 31, 2014 10 Photos

  • 7-31 Pageant Toddler Girl Winners.jpg Babies, toddlers crowned at Madison County Fair

      

    July 31, 2014 4 Photos

  • Airport getting $600,000 in federal funds

    On July 14, Gov. Steve Beshear announced the Madison Airport and the Eastern Kentucky University aviation program would be receiving $1.1 million for expanded and improved facilities.
    On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Sixth District, announced the airport also would benefit from $600,000 in Federal Aviation Administration funds.

    July 31, 2014

  • Veggies going on the grill Saturday

    The Madison County Farmers Market will demonstrate Saturday that fresh garden vegetables can go on the grill as well as in a salad.
    The Madison County Extension Service staff, along with members of the extension homemakers clubs, will be on hand to show market customers how tasty grilled vegetables can be, said Gina Noe, extension agent for family and consumer sciences.

    July 31, 2014

  • Stumbo says McConnell ‘handpicked’ leader of coal association

    Democratic Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo said Wednesday there’s an obvious reason the president of the Kentucky Coal Association has publicly defended Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s support of the coal industry.

    July 31, 2014

  • Berea utility doubles solar farm, again

    Berea Municipal Utilities started its solar farm in October 2011 with 60 panels. In less that five days, all were leased.
    Another 60, which became operational in June 2012, were leased in less than four months.
    Now, the farm again has doubled, with the addition of 126 panels that are ready for leasing, said Steve Boyce, a retired Berea College professor who has been involved with the program since its inception.

    July 30, 2014

  • Miss Madison Winners 2.jpg My fair ladies

      

    July 29, 2014 5 Photos

  • 10th Quilt Extravaganza is Friday, Saturday

    Displays of quilts by men, baby quilts, the Grandmother’s Flower Garden pattern, an exhibit of feed sack fabric, ongoing demonstrations, and a vendors market are features of the 10th Berea Quilt Extravaganza Friday and Saturday at Berea Community School off Ellipse Street.

    July 29, 2014

AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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

Should Madison County’s three local governing bodies ban smoking in indoor public places?

Yes
No
     View Results