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Arson charges filed in hay fires

Staff writer

Two hay bale fires in the early morning of Oct. 30 — one at 180th and Remington Rds. and the other on 190th Rd. between Quail Creek and Pawnee Rds. — are the basis of charges newly filed against a Marion man.

William T. Ledford, 34, formally was charged last week with two counts of arson, a fraudulent insurance act, making false information, interference with law enforcement, impairing a security interest, and endangerment.

According to a complaint filed in court, he set fire to hay bales insured by Jess Whiteman and Farm Bureau Financial Services; made an insurance claim containing false information; made a false entry to obstruct detection of a felony offense; made a false report to law enforcement; impaired a security interest by burning hay bales; and endangered Jess Whiteman by recklessly exposing Whiteman to a danger of great bodily harm or death.

At the time of the fires, Marion Fire Chief Chris Killough considered them suspicious because of how close they were to each other and because both were burning at the same time.

The fire at 180th and Remington Rds. was reported at 4:17 a.m. Firefighters monitored it for nearly an hour until a landowner brought a tractor to separate burning bales from others.

Burning bales were then noticed at 190th Rd. between Quail Creek and Pawnee Rds.

Firefighters spent three hours attempting to control the two fires. After determining the fires couldn’t spread, firefighters monitored the fires throughout the day. An arson investigator was summoned.

According to appraisal records, Ledford owns farmland on 190th Rd. and a house on Nickerson St. in Marion.

Ledford previously was sued in Marion County eight times over failure to pay property tax, bad debts, failure to pay state tax, and a mortgage foreclosure. He was criminally charged nine times with traffic offenses and with a fish and game violation.

Last modified March 20, 2024

 

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