Kelley firefighter found guilty of arson in Boone County

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Brett Graham

A former Kelley volunteer firefighter was found guilty last week in a two-day trial that came after an arrest last March.

Brett Graham of Kelley was arrested by Boone County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Godzicki on March 6 for second-degree arson charges after being released from Story County Jail on bond for three counts of the same charge. According to court documents, Graham had previously admitted to the arson of a barn on 270th Street in Ames, located in Boone County, which killed 10 to 12 horses and destroyed the building and the hay it stored, valued at $22,000. He is still facing three other arson charges from Story County.

During the early morning hours of Jan. 25, Graham drove his car into the open door of a barn in Ames where he worked at stacking hay and lit the hay with a lighter. According to Graham, he ignited the fire due to his anger at the owner over financial issues, Godzicki wrote in court documents. After lighting the fire, Graham left the scene. Graham was a volunteer firefighter at the time, and when paged about the fire, he returned to the barn to assist the Kelley Fire Department in battling the blaze, Godzicki alleged.

In the Boone County District Court, the jury found Graham guilty of arson in the second degree. Judge Steven Oeth granted Graham’s release under unspecified pretrial conditions until his sentencing date of July 19. The sentencing date remained unchanged.

Graham also faces three additional counts of second-degree arson in Story County, each with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The trial date for the Story County charges is set for 3 p.m. on July 23 at at the Story County Courthouse in Nevada.

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