ST. GEORGE — A Cedar City man has been granted a reduced sentence after setting his mother’s house on fire in Nibley.
Christopher Lescoe, 34, was sentenced to one to 15 years in the Utah State Prison on a second-degree felony charge of aggravated arson.
He appeared at the 1st District Court in Logan Monday morning before Judge Thomas Willmore.
Lescoe was originally charged with one first-degree felony of aggravated arson and one class B misdemeanor for assault after the incident in March, to which he pleaded not guilty. He later changed his plea to guilty of the first-degree felony in exchange for the dismissal of the misdemeanor charges.
At Lescoe’s sentencing hearing Monday, his defense requested a one-step reduction from a first-degree felony to a second-degree felony, which the judge granted based on Lescoe’s mental health status and his success at stabilization while incarcerated. He did not give him credit for time served.
“He’s been seen by a doctor, he’s been stabilized on some medications, and the judge believed that up to 15 years was the right thing to do based on his success in being stabilized while incarcerated,” Cache County Chief Deputy Spencer Walsh said. “The victim in the case was his mother. She was not asking for prison and she was requesting leniency, and I think the judge took that into consideration, too.”
Walsh opposed the sentence reduction because of Lescoe’s history of violence.
“He burned down his mother’s house and was acting very erratically and violently, and so I opposed the reduction because I believe that there’s a public safety concern,” he said.
On March 3, Lescoe was involved in a hit-and-run crash in Logan while driving his mother’s car.
Lescoe returned to his mother’s house in Nibley, and when his mom and brother arrived to help him, he physically attacked his brother. During the altercation, Lescoe reportedly tried to take his brother’s gun from where it was kept in his vehicle, yelling at his brother to shoot him with it.
After law enforcement was called, Lescoe barricaded himself inside the house and started it on fire in an apparent attempt to kill himself.
He eventually exited the burning house and was arrested after receiving medical clearance from the hospital.
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