Man placed on probation after setting his home on fire

Bryce Johnson | Jefferson County Jail

RIGBY — A Jefferson County man was placed on two years probation Monday after he set fire to his home last month.

Bryce Johnson, 57, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor malicious injury to property and Magistrate Judge Robert L. Crowley handed down the sentence. Johnson was initially charged with felony second-degree arson, but as part of a plea agreement, the charge was reduced to the misdemeanor. Crowley suspended 164 days of jail time, which Johnson could still face if he violates probation.

On Aug. 8, witnesses saw Johnson walk into his house on the 4000 block of Menan Lorenzo Highway carrying a gas can, according to court documents. Johnson then poured the gas inside his home, lit a fire and then used fire extinguishers to put out the blaze.

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When asked why he started his house on fire, Johnson told investigators he didn’t want a man to take his house. It appears Johnson had a mental episode and started the fire to get the likely non-existent man out of the house.

Johnson was given a $1,000 fine, but Crowley suspended $900 of it, meaning Johson will only need to pay $100.