Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Arsonist’s Sentence Reversed by Appeals Court

A man sentenced for setting fire to his mother and step-father’s camper in Jackson County in 2013 has won his appeal. The Fourth District Court of Appeals has ruled that the trial court should have merged Stephen Frazier’s convictions when he was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Sandra and Jimmie Russell were sleeping when Frazier started the fire with their propane tank. They were able to escape without injury.

The 3-0 decision from the appeals panel points out that the Jackson County Court of Common Pleas correctly found Frazier’s convictions for first-degree aggravated arson and a second-degree aggravated arson were allied offenses. At sentencing, the trial court imposed a sentence of eight years in prison for each count. Judge William H. Harsha wrote in the opinion that even though Frazier was ordered to serve the sentences concurrently, his convictions were more than what the law allows.

“Based on the record, it is clear Frazier ignited the camper as part of single act with the same animus for both crimes, i.e. to harm its occupants. Consequently, Frazier’s convictions for aggravated arson are allied offenses of similar import and the trial court erred by failing to merge them at sentencing,” Judge Harsha said.

Judges Matthew W. McFarland and Marie C. Moraleja Hoover agreed with Judge Harsha that the judgment against Frazier should be reversed and the case sent back to the Jackson County court for a new sentencing hearing.

State v. Frazier, 2014-Ohio-3025
Criminal Appeal From: Jackson County Court of Common Pleas
Judgment Appealed From Is: Reversed and remanded
Date of Judgment Entry on Appeal: June 30, 2014

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