Sunday, December 1, 2013

WI - Bond set for two men (TJ R. Hunt & Justin S. Baker) in arson case - Setting fire to the home of a registered sex offender

Trailer fire
Original Article


By Samantha Hernandez

Two Door County men could face charges of arson as a party to a crime and first-degree reckless endangerment for allegedly setting fire to the home of a registered sex offender in the town of Gardner Saturday.
- What about attempted murder?

TJ R. Hunt, 24, and Justin S. Baker, 25, both of Gardner, appeared via video feed Monday in Door County Circuit Court, Branch 2. Hunt could also face additional charges of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, second offense, and obstructing an officer.

TJ R. Hunt
TJ R. Hunt
According to Door County District Attorney Raymond Pelrine, authorities notified residents at Goetz’s Hideaway Bar & Resort on Friday that _____, 39, a registered sex offender from Michigan, had taken up residence there.

_____ and members of his family attended the bond hearing. _____’s sister-in-law _____, in an interview with the Door County Advocate following the hearing, said Hunt’s and Baker’s actions seemed “premeditated.” _____, who was injured in a car accident in 1993, used a wheelchair provided by the courthouse to get into the courtroom. He is able to walk.

Hunt, who lives near the homes of _____ and his brother, “became increasingly agitated as the evening went on” after learning about _____’s sex offender status, the district attorney told Judge Peter Diltz. Both Hunt and Baker were drinking throughout the night, he said.

Justin S. Baker
Justin S. Baker
In the presence of others, including Baker, Hunt “would wax and wane in his agitation over what an outrage” it was having a registered sex offender in neighborhood, he said.

Hunt and Baker went back and forth “seeming to bolster each other’s courage” before they went to _____’s house and poured gasoline on a corner of the trailer, he said. Both men later gave statements allegedly admitting to what happened, but neither knew who actually lit the fire.

_____ was awakened in the middle of the night, and when he got up he smelled smoke and could tell there was fire,” Pelrine said. Initially _____ thought the fire was due to a faulty electric space heater.

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