A man charged with burning a barn and the liability for physical injuries the owner suffered has been sentenced to prison.
In December 2007, David Gross went into a barn belonging to J.C. Williams. As he went into the wooden structure that was filled with hay, he was smoking, previous reports said.
Later, as he exited the barn, Gross turned and noticed a blaze has started in the spot he was standing in.
Within minutes, Williams received a call from his neighbor with news that his barn was on fire.
Delain Williams, J.C. Williams’ son, previously said his father ran into the barn in an attempt to save his tractor.
With the barn and tractor nearly engulfed in flames, Williams ended up with second and third degree burns over most of his body, his son said.
However, he was able to get the tractor out of the barn.
Gross later admitted to authorities he had been under the influence of a scheduled narcotic at the time.
The estimated monetary loss of the barn was $30,000. But inside was 110 rolls of hay and 500 square bales that were to feed Williams’ livestock, Delain Williams said.
In the year since the fire, Gross has undergone a series of mental evaluations.
The first one, conducted in April 2008, proved to be inconclusive, the court record said.
Another evaluation was then ordered. The second one involved Gross being admitted to a mental health facility for the evaluation.
That report, issued in May 2008, gave some clarity.
Gross was deemed competent to stand trial by the doctors at Lakeshore Mental Health Institute. But the team also regarded him as having a mental illness at the time of the alleged arson. While they made this determination, they further said Gross’ illnesses didn’t stop him from appreciating the nature of what he was accused of, the court report said.
On Monday Gross was sentenced to serve 10 years behind bars for attempted aggravated arson and aggravated assault.
“The only justice would be for him to serve time,” Delain Williams had said days after the fire.