Terry Barton was a Fire Prevention Technician for the US Forest Service when she started what became the 137,000-acre Hayman fire on the Pike National Forest in 2002.
Unless there are further legal proceedings, it appears that she will be out of prison in June.
From the Colorado Springs Gazette:
“Terry Barton, who set the worst fire in Colorado history, was re-sentenced to 15 years probation and 1,500 hours of community service today by 4th Judicial District Judge Thomas Kennedy.
Her first sentence on a state arson charge – 12 years in prison – was tossed out by the Colorado Court of Appeals in 2004 because of issues with the way the original judge handled her case.
Barton is in a prison in Texas, serving out the remainder of a six-year sentence on federal charges for starting the Hayman fire. She’s scheduled to be released from prison in June, according to her attorney.
Once she’s released, she’ll have to check in with 4th Judicial District probation officials. Her new sentence on the state charge will be retroactive to 2003, meaning she’ll be on the hook for community service hours and probation check-ins until 2018.
In June 2002, Barton – a U.S. Forest Service employee – reported that a fire started in a campground northwest of Lake George. About a week later, she was arrested after admitting she accidentally started the fire by burning a letter from her estranged husband.
The fire burned 137,000 acres in the Pike National Forest and destroyed 133 homes.”
Earlier we covered other developments in this case.
UPDATE: March 28
In yesterdays’ court proceedings, district judge Thomas Kennedy ordered Barton to pay restitution — estimated to be at least $30 million — on top of the $14.6 million in restitution that is part of her six-year federal sentence.
More from the Denver Post today:
Barton, who began serving her federal sentence in 2003, is due to be released in June from prison in Texas. She must report to the El Paso County probation office within a week after leaving federal custody.
Barton’s 12-year state prison sentence was overturned in 2004 by the Colorado Court of Appeals.
The appeals court found the judge failed to disclose that the Hayman fire forced him to evacuate and that he doubled the presumptive range of her sentence inappropriately because only a jury could find aggravating factors.
Prosecutors then argued that Barton’s appeal of her sentence violated the terms of the plea agreement, which allowed them to withdraw it.
In January, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled they could not withdraw from the agreement.
It said Barton would face only one count in one county, would serve any state sentence concurrently with the federal sentence, and she could not appeal any state sentence.
Newsome said the amount of restitution must be determined within 90 days, saying, “It will be at least $30 million.”
While the DAs understand the amount may never be paid, Newsome said state law requires a judge to impose restitution for actual losses and ensures victims’ right to pursue civil judgments.