GV arsonist pleads guilty on 2 charges

Wright’s punishment will include jail time, restitution if judge OKs deal

KINGMAN - A Golden Valley man facing 11 felony counts, including six arson charges, pleaded guilty to two charges on Friday.

John William Wright, 18, of the Walnut Creek subdivision pleaded guilty to unauthorized burning of wildlands and criminal damage after accepting a stipulated guilty plea agreement with the Mohave County Attorney's Office.

Wright was facing six counts of arson of a structure, three counts of third-degree burglary, one count of unauthorized burning of wildlands and one count of criminal damage.

Per the agreement, the charges will be reduced to undesignated offenses. It is up to Mohave County Judge James E. Chavez to determine if they will be considered Class 6 felonies that can be sentenced up to two years in jail each, or a Class 1 misdemeanor that can be sentenced for six months each.

Chavez said he will wait until the judgment and sentencing hearing at 9 a.m. on Feb. 23 before deciding to accept the plea agreement.

Victims of the crime expressed displeasure with the plea agreement because they felt the charges were not minor offenses.

Also part of the stipulated guilty plea agreement, Wright would have to pay restitution on all counts up to $15,500 and would have to reimburse fire services.

The Mohave County Sheriff's deputies arrested Wright on Nov. 13 and he pleaded not guilty at his arraignment. Wright, who was 17 years old at the time of the incidents, is being prosecuted as an adult by the county attorney's office.

Around 10:44 p.m. on Nov. 13, an engine and four personnel from the Golden Valley Fire Department responded to the subdivision, where several fires had been set. There were six car fires, a back porch swing fire and two small brush fires within a 30-minute span, according to the GVFD.

There were no injuries, but four of the vehicles sustained interior damage and two had exterior damage from the fires.

About four minutes later, deputies responded to an arson call in the 3100 block of Kevin Drive, according to MCSO documents. The deputy contacted Michael Boop, a homeowner who had extinguished fires in three vehicles on his property.

While a deputy was talking with Boop, he noticed Wright observing the damage and told him to leave the scene. Deputies soon determined footprints at the scenes matched the shoes Wright was wearing.

They went to the Wright residence, which is in the same block as Boop, and questioned him after his mother gave them permission. Wright told deputies he had noticed the fires and tried to put them out himself.

After a search, deputies allegedly found a lighter and two CDs Boop claimed where in one of the damaged vehicles.

The Attorney's Office is charging Wright with more than $10,000 in damage estimates from the multiple fires.