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Arapahoe men going to prison for church arson

Mar 11, 2012 - By Martin Reed, Staff Writer

A federal judge has ordered two Arapahoe men to serve more than four years in prison and pay nearly $224,000 in restitution for committing and arson and burglary at a church last September.

U.S. District Judge Clarence A. Brimmer sentenced Norman Ybarra on Feb. 24 and his co-defendant, Lamar Duran, on Feb. 29 for their involvement in the crimes at the Arapahoe Baptist Church.

Brimmer ordered both men to serve 53 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release.

Duran, 24, and Ybarra, in December pleaded guilty to one count each of committing arson and burglary, with both charges containing aiding-and-abetting components.

Their guilty pleas resulted from separate agreements with the U.S. Attorney's Office for Wyoming.

In both cases, Brimmer at their sentencing dismissed a third charge of assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to do bodily harm combined with aiding and abetting.

Both men faced the same three charges contained in a joint indictment filed Sept. 22.

Authorities, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as well as the FBI, investigated the church fire on C'Hair Lane in Arapahoe that was reported by a nearby resident just before 1 a.m. on Sept. 8.

Emergency personnel, including those from the Riverton Volunteer Fire Department, confined the fire to the church's rear area, but the interior sustained heavy damage.

Although the indictment against the men arrived about two weeks after the fire, federal court records show the men were arrested on a warrant by the ATF on Oct. 12 at the tribal jail complex in Fort Washakie.

The assault charge alleged the men used their feet to cause bodily harm to a woman on Sept. 7, according to court documents.

Additionally, the men allegedly "did willfully and maliciously set fire to and burn a building," specifically the church, on Sept. 7 or 8, according to the arson charge.

The burglary count alleged they entered the church with the intent to commit larceny or another felony, according to court documents.

During their arraignment on Oct. 16, federal Magistrate Judge Teresa McKee ordered the pair detained in jail for reasons including their "extensive criminal history," according to court documents.

They remained in jail during the extent of their prosecution.

Brimmer at sentencing recommended Duran to serve his sentence at a federal prison in Phoenix, while Ybarra's suggested placement is either in Englewood or Florence, Colo.

In both cases, Brimmer recommended the defendants participate in the U.S. Bureau of Prison's 500-hour residential drug treatment program.

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