Even though she had made a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Hayman fire suspect Terry Barton is still not free from additional criminal charges. She now faces a new charge from the state.
County prosecutors filed state charges against Barton on Tuesday in Teller County District Court, alleging that she "unlawfully, feloniously, knowingly and recklessly started and maintain a fire ... (which) placed all involved firefighters, and all persons living in areas that were close promixity to the fire in Park, Douglas, Jefferson and Teller Counties, in danger of death or serious bodily injury and placed buildings and occupied structures ... in danger of damage."
"Because the fire crossed over four different counties and different judicial districts, the district attorneys have been working jointly for several weeks to review the legal issues and reach a consensus as to where any local prosecution should be pursued. The result of these discussions is that this prosecution will proceed in Teller County with a charge that includes damage to persons and property in Park, Douglas, Jefferson, and Teller Counties," District Attorney Jeanne Smith said in a press release.
Barton is being charged with a class-four felony count of fourth-degree arson, which normally carries a prison sentence of two to six years. However, because of aggravating circumstances, Barton faces a maximum of 12 years in prison if she is convicted on this state charge, 7NEWS reported.
The 38-year-old former U.S. Forest Service worker last week pleaded guilty to two federal felony charges -- setting fire to federal forest land and lying to investigators
She had been charged with four federal felonies and had faced 17 to 65 years in prison, but reached a plea agreement with prosecutors. The agreement call for six years in federal prison. Barton will have to return to federal court Feb. 21 for sentencing.
But now, Barton will have to first appear in Teller County, on Jan. 6, to face the new state charge.
The Hayman Fire, which started on June 8 near Lake George, burned more than 137,000 acres of the Pike National Forest and nearby lands and destroyed 133 homes.
It was the largest in the history of the state.
Barton remains free on $600,000 bond.
Barton told federal investigators on June 15 that she accidentally started the fire while burning a letter from her estranged husband in a fire ring. She said she tried to put the fire out but it grew out of control because of the tinder-dry conditions exacerbated by the drought.
- December 7, 2002: Barton Pleads Guilty In Hayman Fire Case
- November 27, 2002: Hayman Fire Suspect Makes Plea Agreement
- September 16, 2002: Accused Hayman Arsonist To Leave Halfway House
- September 10, 2002: Barton Wants Out Of Halfway House
- September 5, 2002: Judge Rules Barton's Confession Admissible
- August 30, 2002: U.S. Attorney Says Barton's Confession Valid
- July 26, 2002: Sister: Hayman Arson Suspect Didn't Mean To Set Fire
- June 27, 2002: Barton Bonds Out, Released From Jail
- June 22, 2002: Prosecutors: Barton's Husband Never Wrote Any Letter
- June 20, 2002: Forestry Worker Pleads Innocent In Hayman Fire Case
- June 19, 2002: New Charges Filed Against Forestry Worker
- June 16, 2002: Forestry Worker Arrested For Hayman Fire
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