Centralia Man Pleads Guilty but Mentally Ill when Accused of Setting Fire to A Home While Family Inside

Centralia Man Pleads Guilty but Mentally Ill when Accused of Setting Fire to A Home While Family Inside

A 50-year-old Centralia man has pleaded guilty but mentally ill in a Jefferson County case accusing him of setting fire to a home while his family was inside.

John Brown still faces between 6 and 30 years in prison on the Class X felony charge of aggravated arson but the Department of Corrections could choose to house him for mental treatment during his prison sentence.

Brown was scheduled for a jury trial next week in the 2016 case but instead is scheduled for a status hearing regarding sentencing, which is planned for 2018. He will have to serve 85 percent of that sentence.

According to police reports, in September 2016, Brown poured gasoline around the inside of his girlfriend’s residence on Dix/Irvington Road, setting the home ablaze with his family inside, then fleeing the home on foot.

The family was able to escape the fire without injury, but the Dix-Irvington Road home and its contents were destroyed. Brown was ultimately arrested at a Centralia residence after a day-long search for him throughout the area.

Two other pending cases against Brown have been dismissed per the plea agreement. In the first of those cases, Brown was charged with felony aggravated domestic battery and felony theft. A warrant in that case led to a police chase in Jefferson County, just hours after the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office described him as “armed and dangerous.”