Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New hearing set in arson case

Man accused of torching own home now free on bond


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

After a four-month hiatus, a criminal case is back on track against a 43-year-old Blaine County man accused of lighting his own house on fire earlier this year.

A preliminary hearing is now set for Oct. 12 in Blaine County Magistrate Court on a felony charge of first-degree arson against Patrick S. Busby. He is also charged with the misdemeanor crime of resisting and obstructing officers for allegedly not complying with the commands of police while the fire was being investigated.

Busby is now free on $10,000 bond, following a Magistrate Court hearing on Sept. 1 when bail was reduced from a previous amount of $100,000.

Busby was in court following a four-month hold on the case while he attended alcohol recovery treatment in New Orleans. He was given a "furlough" from the Blaine County jail on May 11 to spend up to 120 days at St. Christopher's Addiction Wellness Center.

In seeking bond reduction, Hailey attorney Keith Roark told Judge R. Ted Israel that his client was not in a "lockdown facility" in New Orleans.

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"He went to treatment voluntarily and returned voluntarily, turning himself in to the jail," Roark said at the hearing.

Busby was charged with first-degree arson for allegedly setting his home on East Fork Road on fire on the evening of May 7. Blaine County Sheriff's Capt. Curtis Miller alleged in a probable-cause affidavit that Busby used 5-gallon gasoline containers to the set the home on fire in two locations following a fight with his wife, who was not at the home when the fire was started.

Busby was treated for minor cuts and burns later that night at St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center before being arrested.

According to Blaine County court records, Busby's wife filed for divorce on June 10. A court trial is now scheduled in the divorce case for March 15 before Judge Israel.

Roark told the court at the Sept. 1 hearing that Busby was "a complete law-abiding citizen" prior to the May 7 incident. Roark further said his client, a construction contractor, now has about four months of sobriety, has found a place to live in Hailey and has work available in remodeling.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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