Deal caps Newcomb fire sentence at less than 5 years

Mathew Clark

Mathew Clark is likely headed to jail for his role in the Newcomb Hotel fire.

Clark reached a plea deal with the state and pleaded guilty to burglary Tuesday morning.

Clark admitted to being in the Newcomb building on Sept. 6 when the fire started.

He said he was in there looking for scrap metal when his flashlight went out. He lit a bucket of rags for light, it got too hot and started the fire.

A second charge of criminal property damage was dropped as part of the plea deal.

In exchange for the plea, the State's Attorney agreed to cap the sentence at four and a half years in state prison.

Clark will be eligible for probabtion. The court also imposed restitution for the damage.

"Common sense tells us that people who are going into abandoned buildings scraping for metal are doing that because they don't have a lot of money. So, that gives you a pretty good indication that getting restitution from someone like that will be a challenge." Adams County State's Attorney Jon Barnard said.

Clark will be back in court on March 27 for sentencing.

Clark's attorney also asked for a bond reduction from $200,000 to $10,000, but Judge Scott Walden revoked his bond altogether.