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1 of 2 suspects in Liberal arson case pleads guilty

LIBERAL, Mo. - A judge sentences Nathan Lee Jones to 7 years in prison for his role in the recent string of arson fires in Liberal, Missouri.

According to the Barton County Prosecuting Attorney, on November 27th, Jones pleaded guilty to 5 counts of second degree arson and 5 counts of second degree burglary.

Jones was sentenced to 7 years on each count to run at the same time. The Prosecutor's Office says 7 years is the maximum term for these crimes.

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Jones and co-defendant Thomas Ingram were arrested and charged for several fires, including one at the old high school and gymnasium in Liberal.

The two suspects were originally charged with the following fires:

  • (9/19/19) 107 S. Payne Street - The building belonged to the Liberal R-2 School District. The building was an old bus barn.
  • (9/20/19) 309 Walser Street. This is a home and no one was living in it during the time of the fire.
  • (9/15/19) 401 Walser Street. This fire was in a shed in the back yard of the home.
  • (9/19/19) 300 Fishback Street. This is a home and no one was living in it during the time of the fire.
  • (8/02/19) 205 Denton Street. This is a home and no one was living in it during the time of the fire.
  • (9/22/19) 107 S. Payne Street. This was the old school and current elementary gym.

Authorities say Jones was read the Miranda warning, agreeing to waive his right to an attorney and consented to an interview. According to court documents, Jones "admitted he was with Ingram during the fires and Ingram had threatened to cut his other hand off or kill him." 

Read more from court documents on Jones' statement here.

The Missouri State Fire Marshall, Barton County Sheriff's Office and the Liberal Police Department all took part in the investigation.

Ingram is scheduled to be back in court on December 17th, 2019 for this case. He is also facing prior arson charges in separate cases.

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