By Dean Manning / Staff Writer
Four former Lily firefighters who pleaded guilty to criminal mischief and arson-related charges were sentenced in Laurel Circuit Court Friday.
Christopher Feltner, Joshua Feltner and David Johnson each received eight year sentences, while Jeremy Bryant was sentenced to 10 years.
Each man was brought in separately, beginning with Christopher Feltner. Under the terms of the agreement, Christopher Feltner, Joshua Feltner, and Jeremy Bryant each pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree criminal mischief and one count of second-degree criminal conspiracy to commit arson. In return, the Feltners were sentenced to eight years in prison and Bryant received a 10 year sentence. In addition, they agreed to pay any civil judgements brought by the victims.
David Johnson pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree arson and one count of first-degree criminal mischief, in return for an eight year prison sentence.
Laurel Circuit Judge Roderick Messer admonished each of the men, citing the position of trust they had has volunteer firefighters.
“Throughout my time on the bench, there have been cases where I receive a large amount of correspondence stating that a defendant has been falsely accused, and this was one of them,” Messer said during the hearing. “They (the defendants) have led many individuals in the community to believe they are innocent. They were in a position of trust and they violated that position.”
The four men were arrested in January following an investigation into a series of suspicious fires in the Lily area over the last two years. The fires involved a number of barns and vacant buildings.
Laurel County Deputy Brad Mitchell said previously that the suspects used a homemade incendiary device to start the fires.
Deputy Albert Hale, who investigated the case, said he was satisfied with the outcome.
“We weren’t looking for the death penalty, we just wanted it to be fair.” Hale said after the group pleaded guilty on June 5.
By Dean Manning / Staff Writer
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