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Trial set for man charged with fire that destroyed Utah apartment building
First Published Mar 06 2014 03:16 pm • Last Updated Mar 06 2014 11:05 pm

A man who allegedly set a fire that destroyed an apartment building under construction in Salt Lake City will stand trial in May, a federal magistrate judge decided Wednesday.

Dustin Jay Bowman, 34, pleaded not guilty to one count of arson during a brief appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Warner. A different magistrate judge on Feb. 24 ordered that Bowman remain in jail until his trial because of his substance abuse problems and mental health concerns.

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Bowman is charged with intentionally setting the Feb. 9 fire that destroyed the $6 million apartment project, which was under construction at 550 E. 500 South. Bowman, an electrician, was employed by a contractor working on the apartment complex.

If convicted, he faces a potential penalty of up to 20 years in prison, with a five-year mandatory minimum sentence.

After several interviews with investigators, Bowman admitted that after smoking spice he entered the apartment complex and lit some cardboard on fire and tossed it against a boxed bathtub leaning against a wood wall because he "wanted to see the fire department," according to a federal complaint. Bowman was arrested Feb. 14.

Bowman became a suspect after investigators watched surveillance camera footage that captured the image of a man walking through an alley immediately west of the apartment building shortly before the fire began.

brooke@sltrib.com




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