Macon Co. man sentenced for setting forest fires

Keith Mann (Buncombe Co. Detention Center)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) — A man who told authorities he set fires in western North Carolina out of boredom received a five-year sentence on Thursday.

Keith Eugene Mann, 50, of Franklin, pleaded guilty to destroying United States property by means of fire.

Along with a five-year sentence, he was also ordered to serve three years under court supervision, U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose said in a news release.

Prosecutors say a wildfire was intentionally set in Nantahala National Forest in October 2016. Five more fires were set nearby.

A wildfire was reported at the end of Jones Creek Road by a man who identified himself as Keith Mann on Nov. 22, 2016.

U.S. Forest Service firefighters responded and suppressed the fire. The next day, prosecutors say investigators found a small cardboard box with numerous burned wooden stemmed matches near where the fire started.

Prosecutors say Mann later admitted to setting at least two fires.

Mann is in federal custody and will be transferred to the Federal Bureau of Prisons to serve a sentence without the possibility of parole.

“Mann set forest fires which damaged natural resources and potentially put many lives at risk, because he ‘wanted to see something burn.’ Thanks to the swift and thorough investigative efforts of our law enforcement partners, Mann was quickly apprehended and he will be punished for his selfish and irresponsible actions,” Rose said. 

 

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