It only takes a spark … to get five years in prison. Just ask Keith Eugene Mann, 50, of Franklin, who was sentenced July 6 to spend five years in prison for setting fires in the national forest.
Mann is responsible for setting fires in the Board Tree Road and Jones Creek Road areas of Macon County in October and November 2016.
He pleaded guilty in March to a federal arson charge, for destroying real property of the United States by means of fire. Following his release from prison, he will spend an additional three years under court supervision.
His sentence was announced in a press release issued by U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose of the Western District of North Carolina.
“Mann set forest fires which damaged natural resources and potentially put many lives at risk, because he ‘wanted to see something burn,’” the release states.
Mann pleaded guilty to charged stemming from fires set in the Nantahala National Forest on October 27, 2016, on U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Road 388, commonly referred to as Board Tree Road.
Five other fires had been set in close proximity to that fire, but appeared to have gone out on their own. Over the course of the investigation of these small fires, law enforcement located several wooden stem matches which helped to establish that the fires were intentionally set.
Almost a month later, on November 22, 2016, Mann set another wildfire at the end of U.S. Forest Service Road 763, commonly referred to as Jones Creek Road, and called to report the fire himself. The following day, law enforcement returned to the fire site, where they observed a small cardboard box located at the origin of the fire, with numerous burned wooden stemmed matches next to the box. Following up on the Macon County 911 call, investigators spoke with Mann who admitted to setting the fires both on Board Tree Road and on Jones Creek Road.
Mann is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
Read The Full Press Release Here-Keith Eugene Mann Press Release