Two 18-year-old Sallisaw men were charged July 1 in Sequoyah County District Court with two counts of fourth-degree arson and a misdemeanor charge of malicious injury to property
The charges were the result of a Sallisaw police investigation into two fires at unoccupied Sallisaw structures and vandalism at Jay Reynolds Park.
Charged were Chester James Hoover III and True Tharp. Two juvenile males were also arrested as a result of the investigation.
According to the investigators’ report filed with the charges, Hoover and Tharp admitted to the arson and vandalism. The officers reported Hoover said he, Tharp and the two juveniles were “hanging out” on June 24 and “decided to go walking.” They then decided to set “something on fire.” Tharp bought a bottle of lighter fluid and the four went to a vacant structure at the intersection of Oak and Wyandotte Streets. Hoover told police the four sprayed the lighter fluid around the vacant house and lit it, then left.
The Sallisaw Fire Department responded to the fire on June 25 and found the fire had burned out.
Hoover told the officers the suspects returned the next night and tried to restart the fire, and then sprayed lighter fluid in another vacant house, which did catch fire, and the suspects left.
The Sallisaw Fire Department responded to the fire on June 26 and found the first fire had again burned itself out, but the second structure was fully engulfed.
Tharp was also interviewed and the officers reported his story matched Hoover’s. Tharp also told the investigators that he and Hoover had vandalized a car at Jay Reynolds Park.
Both men were sent to the county jail.
The arson charge is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and imprisonment of up to 10 years, or both. The misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and imprisonment in the country jail for up to one year, or both.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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