James Brown was sentenced to 3-6 years in the state penitentiary Monday for attempted first-degree assault in a mobile home fire, wherein he sprayed gas on the woman who owned the trailer.
Brown, 59, was arrested Aug. 28, when police responded to a disturbance call in the 200 block of N. McCabe.
They found the mobile home on fire and a woman with an injury to her forehead. Her clothing was covered with gasoline.
The two had argued. Brown ended up pouring gasoline on the woman as well as setting the trailer on fire, prosecutors said. He was originally charged with attempted second-degree murder and arson.
Brown accepted a plea bargain that lessened the attempted murder charge to attempted assault and dismissed the arson charge.
Still, Chief Deputy County Attorney Tanya Roberts-Connick asked for a lengthy prison sentence.
“This was kind of a big thing, trying to light someone on fire,” she said.
Defense Attorney Kent Florom said the court could see that Brown’s actions last year were out of character.
Florom asked the court to consider that Brown has no prior felonies in his criminal history and nothing worse than a domestic assault on his record.
He said Brown went through mental evaluations, cooperated and throughout the entire time has maintained that he has no knowledge of what took place.
“He remembers going to get gas at the gas station with the victim and the next thing he remembers is waking up at the Lincoln County jail,” Florom said.
Florom agreed his client was probably not a candidate for probation because he wouldn’t have the financial ability to maintain all the requirements that would be put on him.
“I am not asking for that, but would ask the court to give him consideration for his plea and credit for the time he spent in jail,” he said.
Lincoln County District Judge Richard Birch said he agreed with the pre-sentence investigation that did not recommend probation, primarily due to the seriousness of the crime.
“I accept your explanation that you don’t remember this happening,” Birch said, “but I also know if you spray gasoline on a person and try to set them on fire that could certainly result in serious injury or death. Anything other than a prison sentence would depreciate the seriousness of the crime.”
Birch credited Brown with 280 days served in jail awaiting the resolution of his case.