BRYAN — A Bryan woman was sentenced to prison Thursday in Williams County Common Pleas Court on charges that she set fire to an occupied residence last year, injuring its occupant.
Hope Williams, 41, was given an eight- to 12-year term by Judge J.T. Stelzer on two counts of aggravated arson, each a first-degree felony.
She also was given credit for 234 days served in the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio (CCNO) while her case was pending, ordered to make $2,750 restitution and classified as an arson offender, requiring registration of her address with authorities.
A Williams County grand jury had alleged that on the morning of July 25, Williams used a “Molotov cocktail” — a device filled with flammable material — to set fire to a mobile home on lot 1 of 600 S. Union St. in Bryan. The initial complaint filed by Bryan police noted that the home was occupied by Joshua Futch, who was “sleeping inside the residence.”
Futch was transported by Williams County EMS to Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers of Williams County, Bryan, before being transferred to a larger hospital. He since has recovered, according to Williams County’s assistant prosecutor, Stacey Stirriz, who handled Thursday’s hearing.
The intense fire which destroyed the residence also damaged an adjacent mobile home owned by Danielle Layman, melting the plastic siding. As such, Williams was ordered to make $2,750 restitution to Layman.
Layman offered a statement during Thursday’s hearing, telling Williams: “I forgive you, but I will never forget what that horrible day was like,” noting the fear that she had at the time for her son.
Stelzer commented that “we’re all very lucky no one was killed.”
But he wanted to know why Williams — who had a lengthy criminal record with some 60 charges, mostly misdemeanors — engaged in the crime.
Williams characterized her involvement as part of a scheme with Futch to destroy the mobile home as the victim was going to be “put out of that place.” She said another person — never identified or charged — had helped her. (Futch was not charged either.)
Williams also relayed to the court her considerable history of drug abuse.
In fact, she had been on community control when the incident occurred on a drug-related conviction — aggravated possession of drugs, a third-degree felony.
Williams’ attorney, Ian Weber of Defiance, said his client is sorry and “takes responsibility for her actions,” asking for a six-year prison term.
In recommending an eight-year term, Stirriz told the court that Williams showed “absolutely no regard” for the danger the fire produced for those involved. She said phone calls the defendant made from CCNO showed that she had “no remorse.”
Charges of attempted murder, a first-degree felony; felonious assault, a second-degree felony; and criminal use of an explosive device, a first-degree felony, were dismissed along with two additional counts of aggravated arson, each a second-degree felony, as part of the plea negotiations between the Williams County Prosecutor’s Office and Weber.