By Conrad Dudderar
A Yukon man has pleaded guilty in an arson case for setting fire to and destroying a backyard, utility boxes and personal property.
Mason Mantle Avant, 21, entered a blind plea of guilty during a March 12 hearing before Special Judge Khristan Strubhar in Canadian County District Court.
Avant, of Hackney Lane in Surrey Hills, had been charged with third-degree arson stemming from a March 8, 2020 incident in the 12200 block of Angeles Way in Yukon.
Avant will be supervised by the Canadian County District Attorney’s Office and must comply with conditions of probation.
He was ordered to perform 50 hours of community service, pay restitution, obtain a mental health evaluation and complete an anger management program.
Judge Strubhar heard arguments from Assistant District Attorney Austin Murrey, defense attorney David Henry, a defense witness and the defendant, and reviewed exhibits before ruling.
Avant had faced up to 15 years in prison and/or a maximum $10,000 fine if convicted of third-degree arson, a felony offense.
‘BURN ALL HIS STUFF’
Prosecutors charged Avant in April 2020 for setting fire to a male victim’s property.
The Canadian County Sheriff’s Office investigated the arson case, detailed in a probable cause affidavit signed by deputy Jeffrey Thrift.
The victim told the sheriff’s deputy that Avant had sent him threatening messages on SnapChat indicating Avant believed he was having an affair with his girlfriend.
“In the messages, Mason told him that he had 10 minutes to get home to face him or he was going to burn all his stuff,” according to the probable cause affidavit.
The victim was unable to respond because he was working.
A witness told the sheriff’s deputy that Avant went to a nearby 7-Eleven store to purchase lighter fluid.
Prosecutors said the defendant intentionally set the backyard on fire, destroying the entire yard (approximately 20 feet by 12 feet) and two utility meter boxes.
The victim’s work uniforms, personal clothes, yearbooks, and other books also were destroyed in the arson fire.
He estimated the loss of his personal property and damage to his yard and utility boxes to be more than $5,000.
The witness and a neighbor used water hoses to douse the blaze.