Hammes takes plea in Greyhawk arson case
PRESCOTT - Steven Hammes, who set his own house on fire, destroying it and setting off a brush fire, and also was indicted in a domestic violence case, avoided decades behind bars by accepting a plea deal Monday.
Hammes, 54, was indicted on four felony counts related to the May 31, 2012, fire that destroyed his home in the 1000 block of Greyhawk Point Drive and touched off a one-acre brush fire. Additionally, he was charged in a separate case from 2011. In that one, he was charged with three counts of aggravated domestic violence, assault, criminal damage and disorderly conduct.
The sentences would be more serious for these crimes if he were found guilty in a jury trial, Superior Court Judge Tina Ainley said, because he was convicted on several felony drug charges in a 2007 case.
Hammes faced a 35-year sentence for the charge of arson of an occupied structure, a class 2 felony, as well as 15 more years for criminal damage and three years for each of two reckless endangerment charges, or a total of 56 years, if he went to trial and lost. He also could have been sentenced to a maximum of 30 years in the other case.
Instead, he pleaded guilty to one count each of arson of a structure - a class 4 felony - aggravated domestic violence and criminal damage per domestic violence.
Deputy County Attorney Paul Ahler recommended that Ainley impose concurrent sentences, meaning that he would serve 2.5 years in the arson case and 2.25 on each of the two charges in the other case at the same time.
Ainley agreed and also gave him credit for 766 days he's served in the county jail already.
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