Youth pleads guilty to one count of arson |

Youth pleads guilty to one count of arson

by Maggie O'Neill, Nevada Appeal News Service

A Gardnerville teenager suspected with another youth of starting 12 fires in four counties pleaded guilty to one count of arson Tuesday in Douglas County District Court.

David Scott Killen and Harley Hook, both 18, have admitted to starting the fires in early November, one with a Molotov cocktail Nov. 6 on Kingsbury Grade.

At a Dec. 17 court hearing, Judge David Gamble sent Killen to Lake’s Crossing Center for the Mentally Disordered Offender in Reno to determine if Killen understood his charges.

“Mr. Killen is competent to proceed in trial,” Gamble said at the beginning of Tuesday’s hearing. “He is of sufficient mentality to understand the charges against him and aid and abet counsel.”

Deputy District Attorney Mike McCormick and Killen’s lawyer, Derrick Lopez, asked to proceed, instead of scheduling a later arraignment. Both sides had come to a plea agreement.

Killen, who was charged with three counts of arson and three counts of conspiracy to commit arson in Douglas County, pleaded guilty to one count of arson, punishable by one to four years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

In the plea bargain, the other five charges were dropped. Also in the agreement, other jurisdictions where Killen and Hook’s fires occurred agreed not to press charges. They include Alpine County, Calif.; Storey County; Carson City and the Bureau of Land Management. Killen and Hook will split restitution for all fires, estimated at $1,000 per blaze.

In Douglas County, Killen and Hook are accused of starting two fires near Walley’s Hot Springs in Genoa and one on Kingsbury Grade Nov. 4.

Killen is scheduled to return to court at 9 a.m. Feb. 25 for sentencing. Killen will be sentenced for the arson charge, a Class D felony, for which Gamble warned him he could punish him at the maximum four years.

Hook, also a Gardnerville resident, pleaded guilty Dec. 17 in Gamble’s court to one charge of attempted arson in the third degree, punishable by one to four years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Jan. 28.

Killen’s bail is set at $100,000. He is in the Minden jail with Hook whose bail is set at $22,500.