Juneau man sentenced for storage unit fire

Posted: Sunday, January 19, 2003

JUNEAU (AP) -- A man convicted of starting a million-dollar fire that destroyed property belonging to more than 150 people was sentenced to four years in prison Friday.

Michael Blevins, 22, was sentenced Friday in Juneau Superior Court to seven and a half years in prison with three suspended and three years probation. He also was ordered to pay restitution and undergo psychiatric treatment while in prison.

According to court records, the fire, which destroyed the 280-unit Juneau Self Storage building near Lemon Creek, caused an estimated $1 million in damage and endangered the lives of several firefighters when the building's roof collapsed and stored ammunition and propane tanks exploded.

Blevins pleaded guilty in November to a misdemeanor count of theft and felony counts of burglary and criminal mischief, stemming from a break-in and fire at the storage building and an unrelated burglary the same day.

Blevins also admitted to violating conditions of his release because the crimes were committed while he was on probation.

Charges of arson, theft and possession of burglary tools were dropped as part of a plea agreement.

Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks ordered Blevins to pay restitution of $878,638. He said about $13,000 must first paid to victims who lost property to cover insurance deductibles. The judge said he recognized that the rest of the restitution may never be paid.

Blevins and Cricencio Bagoyo, 23, have been lodged at Lemon Creek Correctional Center since their arrest in August. Bagoyo faced the same charges as Blevins and pleaded guilty to arson and theft in November. He is expected to be sentenced Jan. 22.

Blevins and Bagoyo were accused of a short crime spree that began with a break-in at Gastineau Human Services, where they stole more than $1,000 in cash and checks as well as several credit cards. The pair then crossed the street to the storage facility, where they stole items and set the place ablaze to cover fingerprints.

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