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Police: Arson suspect 'dedicated' fires to TV reporter who upset him

Published May 13, 2014 8:39 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A serial arsonist is accused of setting multiple fires "dedicated to" a TV news reporter who upset him by asking him for an interview.

FOX 13 reporter Scott McKane received an email last week from the arsonist's address, claiming that McKane was "a bully" because he asked the arsonist for comment while the man was handcuffed in a police car and "suffering from my depression."

The man had been convicted multiple times of arson for starting grass and brush fires, typically in and around Salt Lake City's Memory Grove.

"Now it is my turn," the suspect wrote. "Each fire that I do tonight I dedicate to [McKane]. How many can I do?? No buildings or vehicles."

The man, 56, went on to start three fires near Memory Grove and at 300 N. State Street, investigators wrote in charges filed Monday.

The man was charged with three misdemeanor counts of arson and second-degree felony threat of terrorism.

The same suspect pleaded guilty to arson in 2012, 2010, 2007 and to reckless burn in 2011. In 2012, he used a page of City Weekly to set a fire in Memory Grove. In 2011, he started a fire in Memory Grove that spread uphill toward homes on Capitol Boulevard. In midsummer 2010, he admitted to starting a fire in City Creek Canyon, which burned dry grass and brush for several hours. In his confession, he said he set the fire in hopes of returning to prison.

Charges do not indicate when the man encountered McKane.