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Blanding man ordered to pay $1 million, serve prison time for San Juan High fires

Published July 9, 2013 9:18 pm

Court • 19-year-old also ordered to pay $1M for damages.
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One of two Blanding men charged with aggravated arson and burglary connected to multiple break-ins and fires last year at San Juan High School was sentenced to prison on Monday.

As part of a plea deal, Deven W. White, 19, pleaded guilty in 7th District Court to two counts of second-degree felony attempted aggravated arson and three counts of third-degree felony burglary. Fourteen other charges, including theft, criminal mischief, and trespassing, were dismissed.

White and Christopher Stolzer, 23, were accused of six burglaries at San Juan High School, Albert R. Lyman Middle School, and the Zenos L. Black building in October and November. The pair were also charged with starting the high school on fire twice on Nov. 15 and 17.

The Nov. 17 fire destroyed the high school library and caused an estimated $1 million in damage.

On Monday, Judge Lyle Anderson ordered White to serve up to 15 years in prison for the second-degree felonies and up to five years for the third-degree felonies, according San Juan County Attorney Craig Halls. The sentences all were ordered to run concurrently.

The judge also ordered White to pay $1 million in restitution.

Stolzer was found incompetent to stand trial on the charges in April, and a judge sent him to the Utah State Hospital. He is set for a review hearing on July 22.

According to Blanding police records, White admitted to the break-ins and starting the two fires, telling the officers that he broke into the school because he was angry with school officials.

"Deven stated that he was upset with the school because when he was in school, he had an iPod stolen and the school wouldn't help him find who took it," an investigator wrote in his report.

Stolzer told that he wanted to break into the school to view his "mental" medical records. He added that it was White's idea to start the fires.

On Nov. 15, at least three small fires were started and officials later found books scattered throughout the high school library, according to Blanding police. Three classrooms, including two special education classrooms, were broken into and the file cabinets were pried open, according to police.

Stolzer allegedly told investigators that they broke into the ZLB building "for kicks" and that it was White's idea. According to a police report, White told the officers the break-ins were "an adrenaline rush."

"I've got to tell you, that was so much fun, but I'm not sure it was worth it," White allegedly said.


Twitter: @jm_miller




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