Lake Christine Fire Defendants Avoid Felony Charges, Accept Possible Sentence
The two defendants, Richard Miller, 24, and Allison Marcus, 23, will plead guilty to one count of Setting Fire to Woods or Prairie. In exchange, the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s office dropped three felony charges and reduced the remaining charge to a misdemeanor.
Miller and Marcus agreed to a possible sentence of 45 days in jail, 1,500 hours of community service, $100,000 each in restitution and five years of probation. Eagle County District Judge Paul Dunkelman accepted the guilty pleas but stated that he wants to give the victims in the case a chance to comment before a formal sentencing scheduled for July 1.
In a press release, Assistant District Attorney Heidi McCollum stated “We can only prosecute cases based on the strength of the evidence we can prove in any case at trial. Based on the overall tenor of our case at this juncture, a plea agreement was reached with the defendants.”
Miller and Marcus were firing weapons at a shooting range near Basalt last July 3 when a wildfire started, eventually burning 12,588 acres of land and forcing thousands of residents to be evacuated.