Man gets prison for arson fire
David Unze , firstname.lastname@example.org
3:16 p.m. CST December 9, 2016
A former St. Augusta man was sentenced Thursday to more than four years in prison after previously pleading guilty to arson and illegally possessing a firearm.
Travis Lee Cox, 35, was accused of setting fire to his home at 1680 Forest Glen Circle in January 2014. Investigators learned that Cox and his wife were behind on their automobile, mortgage and utility bill payments and their house was in foreclosure.
Fire investigators determined that the fire started in the basement laundry room. They ruled out appliances, the washer and the dryer and any electrical wiring as causes or contributing factors in the fire, according to the court complaint charging Cox.
A state fire marshal and an investigator for the insurance company determined that the fire was set intentionally. Cox was the last person in the home before the fire was reported.
Investigators found a firearm in the basement of the home that Cox said was his. He was prohibited from possessing firearms because he was convicted of a crime of violence, a burglary in Sherburne County in 2001.
Stearns County District Court Judge Andrew Pearson sentenced Cox to 50 months in prison each on the arson and firearm charges and ordered that they run at the same time. Prosecutors dismissed a charge of insurance fraud as part of the plea agreement.
That charge accused Cox of filing a false claim to collect on the home's insurance policy. The insurance company denied the claim based on investigators' opinions that the fire was intentionally set.