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Fire starterís sentence could be cut to 6 years [Terry Barton update]
Gazette.com ^ | October 12, 2005 | Staff

Posted on 10/14/2005 6:15:32 AM PDT by Excuse_My_Bellicosity

A former U.S. Forest Service employee who set Colorado’s largest wildfire could be released from state prison after six years instead of 12 because of a state Supreme Court ruling Tuesday.

District attorneys from four Colorado judicial districts, representing the counties in which the fire raged, will meet late this month to talk about the possible reduction in Terry Barton’s sentence.

“Our primary interest in this case is preserving the conviction and restitution for the victims,” 4th Judicial District Attorney John Newsome said Tuesday.

The 4th Judicial District consists of El Paso and Teller counties. District attorneys representing Park, Douglas and Jefferson counties also will attend the meeting.

Newsome said the district attorneys will analyze the opinion during a meeting tentatively set for Oct. 28.

Barton, 41, was working as a Forest Service employee in June 2002 when she burned a letter from her estranged husband in a campfire ring while a burn ban was in effect. Embers escaped the ring, burning 138,000 acres and destroying 132 homes.

She was sentenced to 12 years, twice the normal term for fourth-degree arson. The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that trial Judge Ed Colt erred by sentencing her to more than the standard twoto six-year term for fourth-degree arson in a case that didn’t go before a jury.

The Colorado Supreme Court refused to hear the prosecutors’ appeal, so Barton’s case goes to another state judge for re-sentencing. Barton’s attorney said she expects a six-year sentence.

Colt’s sentence assumed aggravating circumstances existed — a finding that should have been made by a jury, the appeals court ruled.

Although Tuesday’s ruling doesn’t ensure a shorter sentence for Barton, it opens the door for argument, Newsome said.

Barton is serving a six-year federal sentence in connection with the fire.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; News/Current Events; US: Colorado
KEYWORDS: barton; terry
The "burning love letter from estranged husband" story turned out to be a line of crap. She didn't get 12 years in prison for accidentally starting the fire. She started the fire intentionally so that she could call in the emergency and save the day by putting it out, thereby looking good to her bosses. But the fire got out of control (imagine that) and it turned out to be the biggest fire in Colorado history.

I think the last sentence in the article is in error, too. Her current sentence is 12 years and it may be reduced to 6.

Whenever she gets out, I wouldn't recommend showing her face in the state of Colorado ever again.

1 posted on 10/14/2005 6:15:35 AM PDT by Excuse_My_Bellicosity
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To: Excuse_My_Bellicosity
I like nature. I just don't want to hear the do-gooder enviro wacko crap. Its just too much to take in.

(Denny Crane: "I like nature. Don't talk to me about the environment".)
2 posted on 10/14/2005 6:18:44 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Excuse_My_Bellicosity
I think the last sentence in the article is in error, too. Her current sentence is 12 years and it may be reduced to 6.

Looks like two separate sentences. 6 for a federal conviction; 12 from a state court. I would guess they run concurrently.

Note that all the appeals mentioned are state courts, for a state judge's sentence.

3 posted on 10/14/2005 11:30:00 AM PDT by ApplegateRanch (Mohamophages of the world, unite!)
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To: ApplegateRanch

Okay, that makes more sense. Thanks!


4 posted on 10/14/2005 11:36:25 AM PDT by Excuse_My_Bellicosity ("Sharpei diem - Seize the wrinkled dog.")
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