Green Mountain Falls town hall arsonist sentenced to 12 years

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A disgruntled driver who retaliated for a traffic ticket by setting fire to the town hall in Green Mountain Falls has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The Gazette reports that 22-year Zacharia Garrison Shaffer got the stiffest penalty possible for orchestrating the February arson. The century-old town hall near Colorado Springs was destroyed. Firefighters said high winds pushed the flames toward a nearby home, which sustained minor damage.

Shaffer pleaded guilty in September to first-degree arson. A co-defendant accused of helping set the fire awaits a January trial.

According to text messages sent from his phone, Shaffer was angered by a summons to appear in Green Mountain Falls on a traffic matter, where he expected to face fines. He wrote to a childhood friend, "That place is going down." Shaffer and his co-defendant both suffered burns in the arson.