Man blamed in GF fires sentenced
A man blamed for a night of fires in Grand Forks last year was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison and three years of supervised probation. In a plea agreement, 24-year-old Michael Duray pleaded guilty to two felony counts of endangering b...
A man blamed for a night of fires in Grand Forks last year was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison and three years of supervised probation.
In a plea agreement, 24-year-old Michael Duray pleaded guilty to two felony counts of endangering by fire, and in exchange, seven similar counts were dismissed.
"The evidence is not as substantial as it is in other cases," prosecutor Thomas Falck told Judge Sonja Clapp of state District Court. "If it was, he'd probably be pleading to all nine counts."
At an earlier hearing, defense attorney Blake Hankey said Duray pleaded guilty to the charges in the two fires in which there was evidence he was present.
Police reported that six vehicles and three residences were set ablaze in the early morning hours of June 28, 2008. The vehicles each received more than $2,000 in damage, and the residences sustained minor to extensive damage, police said.
Jennifer Triske, an owner of a car that was torched, told the judge Wednesday that she forgives Duray but remains frustrated, considering that she had just finished five years of making payments on the car.
"It's been really hard to keep up with my bills since this happened," she said. "I wish that I didn't have car payments to pay now."
Citing a report, the judge said Duray told authorities he was drinking alcohol before setting the fires and that he doesn't know the origin of his urge to start fires.
"He took responsibility for this," Hankey said. "He expressed his desire not to commit these crimes again."
The judge ordered Duray to undergo psychological and substance-abuse evaluations and pay restitution in all nine cases. That amount will be determined at an Oct. 2 hearing, if the prosecution and defense cannot agree on a figure before then.
He received credit for already serving more than four months in jail.
Duray also is facing two felony arson charges for setting fire to two of his neighbors' garages in Fargo on April 1 during this spring's flood fight. He's to be sentenced in that case Monday. Hankey told the judge Duray will serve at least another year behind bars on those charges.
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