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Moorhead man gets four months in jail for Coach’s arson

MOORHEAD, Minn. – A Moorhead man plans to fight a restitution request from the owner of the former Coach’s bar after pleading guilty to setting the building on fire last summer.

Jeffrey Joseph Little, 29, was sentenced Wednesday in Clay County District Court to four months in jail on a single count of felony second-degree arson, avoiding a possible prison term.

A count of first-degree arson was dropped as part of his plea deal.

His attorney, Joe Parise, said Little will be allowed to serve his jail time on work release.

Little has significant family responsibilities, Parise said, including being the primary custodian of his children, one of whom has special needs.

A Clay County prosecutor said Little plans to contest a restitution request from the owner of the bar, which had been long out of business at the time of the July 8 fire.

At a previous hearing, prosecutors said restitution for damages to the building could surpass $100,000.

Parise said at the time it would be unfair to expect Little to restore the long-unused bar to its prior condition.

Judge Michelle Lawson also sentenced Little to 10 years supervised probation and a $1,000 fine.

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