Ex-Forest Service Worker Gets Six Years

Kernhuntr

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Ex-Forest Service Worker Gets Six Years
By JENNIFER HAMILTON
Associated Press Writer

February 21, 2003, 5:52 PM EST


DENVER -- A former U.S. Forest Service employee was sentenced to six years in prison Friday for setting the biggest wildfire in Colorado history, a blaze last summer that destroyed more than 130 homes.

"The fact that I hurt people kills me each and every day, because I do love people," 39-year-old Terry Lynn Barton said in federal court. "So I'd just like to say that I am sorry."

She pleaded guilty in December to federal arson charges and last month to a state arson charge. The state charge could bring up to 12 years behind bars at sentencing March 5.

The 138,000-acre fire southwest of Denver destroyed 133 homes and one business, causing an estimated $13 million in damage.

U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch rejected the government's request that Barton be ordered to pay $14.7 million to cover firefighting costs and restoration of the forest.

"I'm not going to sentence Ms. Barton to a life in poverty," he said.

Barton, whose job included spotting illegal fires, first told authorities that she smelled smoke and discovered the fire while patrolling a forest on June 8.

Later, she told investigators she accidentally started the blaze while burning a letter from her estranged husband. Investigators believe she started the fire deliberately.

The Forest Service fired Barton after her arrest.

The fire was brought under control July 19. It was one of several that raged in Colorado last year, scorching 915,000 acres.
 



1SoCalHunter

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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
DENVER -- A former U.S. Forest Service employee was sentenced to six years in prison Friday for setting the biggest wildfire in Colorado history, a blaze last summer that destroyed more than 130 homes.[/b]
She should have gotten a stronger sentence in my opinion...
 

COHunter

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I hated it when all that smoke was coming in my house, but that was the best thing that could have happened to the Pike's Peak Natl' Forest. Now the USFS is really thinning out the remaining unburned part of the forest.
 

huntducks

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Six years is alot of time, 2nd degree murder might get 10.

COhunter

The hunting will sure improve in that burn area, to bad there where any homes lost, I think this fire opened a lot of eyes across the country about forest mangement, for the better.
 

spectr17

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Last time I saw some numbers it was an average of 7 years in the hole for murder.

6 years for a case of the stupids is pretty heavy, especially when the NF needed to be burned anyways. Her lying and covering up is what sunk her boat.
 

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