Church arsonists avoid prison time

| September 24, 2011

Two local men convicted of arson, whose vandalism resulted in the burning of the New Scandinavia Lutheran Church between Barron and Chetek in December 2010 were spared prison time by Judge Timothy Doyle upon a recommendation from District Attorney Angela Beranek and agreement with the two men's defense attorneys.

The men were each sentenced to 10 years prison, 5 years of initial confinement and 5 years of supervised release, but those sentences were immediately stayed and the two will be placed on probation instead, as recommended by Beranek. She had asked for 25 years probation, so the two would be able to work and make restitution to the congregation, but Doyle said that was too long.

The damage to New Scandinavia Church is estimated at more than $1 million dollars. A restitution hearing to determine how much the men owe is set for next month.

Lucas Schultz, 18, of Cameron, and Jesse Unruh, 21, of Barron were convicted of breaking into the church with bolt cutters, doing tremendous damage inside, including knocking over tables, books, a piano, trophy cases, breaking a large framed photo, tipping over pews and dragging them into the aisle, which made it difficult for firefighters to pull hoses through to fight the blaze. Sheriff's detectives risked entering the church while firefighting efforts were still underway to gather the evidence eventually used to convict the two men.

 

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=20466186&BRD=1132&PAG=461&dept_id=157660&rfi=6

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Category: Church Security

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