Judge sentences arsonist to 65-year prison term

Wednesday, June 7th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKMULGEE, Okla. (AP) -- An Okmulgee County judge sentenced a man to 65 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to an escape charge and three arson counts in relation to a downtown fire that consumed half a city block.

The prison term was in accordance prosecutors' plea agreement with William Allen LeGrand. LeGrand pleaded guilty to second-degree arson, conspiracy to commit arson and arson endangering human life in connection with the June 8 fire, Assistant District Attorney Rob Barris said Tuesday.

District Judge Charles Humphrey II gave LeGrand, 31, three concurrent 30-year sentences for each arson count, Barris said. Humphrey also ordered a 35-year sentence on the escape charge to run consecutively with the arson counts.

Four other felony charges were disposed of in the sentences, which were handed down May 22, Barris said.

"In some respects, it was a little bit surprising," Barris said of the guilty pleas.

"But given the fact that he had given a videotaped statement admitting his involvement in the crime to ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents), we felt we had a strong case against him, anyway."

LeGrand escaped from the Okmulgee County Jail two weeks after the blaze. He was taken into custody in a stolen car July 11 after making an illegal U-turn in Orange, Calif.

His alleged co-conspirator in the fire, Donald Gean Miller, is scheduled to stand trial in September on three arson counts, Barris said.

A jury convicted Miller last month of jail escape and injury to a public building, court records show. He was sentenced to 200 years on the escape charge and 50 years on the injury to public building count, Barris said.

Miller sawed his way out of the shower room of the jail Sept. 4, authorities said. He was recaptured about three weeks later at a Checotah motel.