LOGAN — A 49-year-old Richmond man has confessed to causing a fire that destroyed a garage and damaged his grandmother’s home. Derek G. Parkinson accepted a plea deal to try and keep him from being sentenced to prison.
Parkinson appeared in 1st District Court Tuesday morning. He pleaded guilty to possession or use of a controlled substance, a third-degree felony; and, two misdemeanors of reckless endangerment and reckless burning. As part of the agreement, prosecutors agreed not to recommend a prison sentence. They also dropped a similar case against the defendant from December 2017.
Parkinson spoke only briefly, telling the court he was willing to waive his rights to a fair trial in exchange for his guilty plea.
On July 16, deputies arrived on the scene of the two-alarm fire, near 311 N. State St. in Richmond. The garage and several vehicles were engulfed in flames. They could also hear small explosions going off in the garage.
Neighbors were the first to see the fire and called 911. They went into the residence and helped safely evacuate an elderly woman who lives there, and Parkinson, who was in the basement.
Fire fighters were able to keep flames contained to the garage, which was a total loss. The home also sustained significant smoke damage.
Investigators later learned that the fire started while Parkinson was using a metal grinder and ignited some nearby pine needles. They also conducted a drug test, which came back positive for methamphetamine use.
During Tuesday’s court appearance, Judge Brian Cannell ordered Parkinson to remain in jail. He also scheduled sentencing for September 24.