The Richmond Register

March 23, 2012

EKU arson case set for trial June 11

By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — Unless he accepts a plea offer from prosecutors, a former EKU student accused of setting two hallway bulletin boards on fire and endangering the lives of the building’s residents is scheduled to stand trial June 11.

Samuel McFarland, 19, of Williamsburg, is charged with first-degree arson, a Class A felony that carries a sentence of 20 years to life in prison. He also was indicted on charges of first-degree criminal mischief, first-degree wanton endangerment and first-degree promoting contraband. Those are all Class D felonies that carry sentences of one to five years.

McFarland appeared Thursday afternoon in Madison Circuit Court for a pretrial conference. His attorney, Brandon West, said no resolution had been reached in the case.

Assistant Common-wealth’s Attorney Jennifer Smith said she still need some time to gather information pertaining to the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence.

Judge Jean C. Logue scheduled the trial for June 11. It is expected to last 3 days.

Smith pointed out she had made an offer to McFarland of five years in prison, but it had not been accepted. She warned the plea offer would not remain on the table up until the start of trial.

McFarland was arrested Oct. 14 after allegedly setting the fires, according to university spokesman Marc Whitt. The sprinkler system activated, and the building was evacuated with no injuries, he said.

McFarland was released Oct. 28 from the Madison County Detention Center on a $20,000 property bond. However, he was arrested Feb. 6 in Williamsburg on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and reckless driving.

Because he broke one of the conditions of his bond, committing no further violations of the law, it was revoked, and he has been lodged in the Madison County Detention Center since Feb. 15.

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