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Posted: Tuesday, 29 November 2011 5:47PM

Lafayette Teen Questions How Much Restitution He Should Pay For Arson Fire



ST. PETER (TEC News) – A Nicollet County judge will decide how much restitution a 17-year-old Lafayette teen will have to pay for torching a rural dairy barn last June.
 
Skylar Reed entered a plea in August to a felony count of Negligent Fires. In exchange a charge of 2nd Degree Arson was dismissed and an adult sentence of 4 years, 1 month and 1 day was stayed.
 
The barn in rural Nicollet was being used for storage of machinery.
 
Reed allegedly took various pieces of equipment for a destructive, alcohol-fueled joy ride that ended with him setting fire to some cushions inside the barn.
 
Reed himself then call 9-1-1 to report the fire, telling investigators he was on his way home from a party when he spotted the fire around 2:23 a.m.
 
Sheriff investigators found distinctive Nike tennis shoe prints at the scene and the next day interviewed Reed who admitted to setting the fire.
 
Reed appeared in front of Judge Allison Krehbiel on Tuesday for a contested restitution hearing.
 
His attorney Kristine Maclean told the judge they were not contesting the amount of the restitution requested, but how much Reed should be required to pay.
 
Daniel Mages has filed a restitution request for $22,500. Palmyra Mutual Insurance has submitted a restitution claim of $32,091.40.
 
Maclean argued before the judge today that she must consider Reed’s ability to pay when ordering restitution and must consider both his income and his assets.
 
The high school senior was sworn in and took the stand at the request of his attorney.
 
Reed had worked at Runnings in New Ulm prior to his legal issues. He no longer works there and says he has looked to get his job back with no luck.
 
He also testified he had applied at other places but has received no response.
 
Under direct exam from his own attorney, Reed explained how he had no income, no money, and no assets.
 
Reed also expressed his desire to go to college next fall. He says he’s been accepted at South Dakota State University.
 
But as far as holding down employment, Reed's attorney pointed to already completed psychological exams that would point to mental disabilities that made holding down a job a challenge.
 
Nicollet County Attorney Michelle Zehnder Fischer questioned Reed about his Runnings job, pointing out he held the job for a year and essentially only lost the job because of his legal issues.
 
She also pointed out Reed does well in school.

Reed told the court he has a GPA of 3.4 and scored an above average 23 on his ACT testing.
 
Zehnder Fischer eluded to Reed trying to get out of paying restitution, which was a condition of his plea agreement.
 
“Do you remember being told it would be a lot of money,” said Zehnder Fischer.
 
Both sides will submit written briefs to Judge Krehbiel prior to December 20.

(Copyright 2011 Three Eagles Communications | All Rights Reserved)
Filed Under :  
Topics : ArsonNicollet County Court
Locations : LafayetteSt. Peter
People : Skylar Reed