Alleged Lake Christine Fire culprits’ bond hearing postponed until Aug. 14
July 31, 2018
EAGLE — The pair accused of sparking the Lake Christine fire received a two-week reprieve Tuesday morning.
Allison Marcus, 22, and Richard Miller, 23, were scheduled for a hearing before Eagle County Court Judge Rachel Fresquez. However, because the judge was scheduled to be out all week, they were ordered to return at 10:30 a.m. August 14.
They are currently free on $7,500 bond each. They’re both charged with fourth-degree arson, a Class 4 felony, and firing woods or prairie, a Class 6 felony. If convicted, they face up to six years in prison and three years mandatory parole.
The Lake Christine Fire began July 3. It has consumed 12,588 acres and is 87 percent contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
WHAT POLICE SAY HAPPENED
Marcus and Miller were allegedly at the shooting range near Basalt firing tracer rounds shortly before 6 p.m. on July 3. The public range was open despite fire restrictions banning everything from charcoal grill fires to outdoor smoking. However, firing tracer ammunition is always banned, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, which owns and operates the shooting range.
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Five minutes after Pitkin County dispatch sent notice that a fire had possibly originated at the gun range, the he two suspects initially were approached at 5:59 p.m. by an Eagle County deputy and an off-duty Forest Service officer, according to the arrest affidavit.
Marcus told the authorities that she “caused it and was sorry. Marcus said she called into 911 to report the fire,” the affidavit says.
Marcus said she had been shooting a rifle, while Miller said he was firing a shotgun.
“Deputy (Josiah) Maner asked Miller what kind of rounds they were shooting,” the affidavit says. “Miller claimed not to know. Deputy Maner asked Miller if he was shooting incendiary rounds, such as tracers. Miller stated no. I asked Miller if he was shooting at exploding targets such as Tannerite or paper. Miller stated paper.”
The deputy asked those questions, the affidavit notes, because “these items are prohibited from use during a Stage 2 fire restriction.”
As the deputy sorted through the suspects’ firearms and ammunition — the search was consensual, the affidavit says — Miller admitted to firing tracer rounds.
Miller told authorities he was aware of the fire ban but said the signs indicating such on Two Rivers Road and Highway 82 near Original Road “only read fires and fireworks were prohibited.” The deputy subsequently seized the firearms, which included a shotgun, a .308 caliber rifle and ammunition, to be placed into evidence, the affidavit says.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.