Archive for Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Man who torched house pleads guilty

Deal includes reduced bond, in-patient mental health treatment

December 19, 2007


Maley pleads guilty

A rural Douglas County man pled guilty to a charge that he set fire to a home following a standoff last month with authorities. Enlarge video

It was an agreement to take responsibility and seek help.

Darrel Maley, 57, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Douglas County District Court to an arson charge for setting fire to his family's home and property Nov. 9 near Pleasant Grove during a 10-hour standoff with law enforcement.

His plea came instead of a scheduled preliminary hearing, and it quickly moved forward a painful ordeal for Maley's family members. Several of them were in court to show their support.

"That's the most important thing here is that there's going to be some heavy monetary damages here and as well as some emotional things that need to be repaired," said Hatem Chahine, Maley's attorney. "And it's best that he be dealing with that through medication, through treatment and then through work."

As part of the agreement with prosecutors and the judge to lower his bond, Maley agreed to seek mental health treatment at an in-patient facility. Attorneys for both sides said they thought Maley would likely qualify for probation.

Prosecutors said they were happy with the agreement because Maley pleaded guilty to a felony, but they also said he needed treatment.

"This gives us the ability to craft a sentence in this case that will benefit him and protect the community at the same time," Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said.

His wife, Pam Maley, had an interest in the property, and he started the fire without her permission, Darrel Maley told Douglas County District Judge Stephen Six. Sheriff's officers say Maley kept them at bay for hours with a shotgun.

Pam Maley filed for divorce Nov. 30, according to court records. She asked Tuesday morning that Six remove a court order prohibiting Darrel Maley from having any contact with her or the property.

"I've never felt that he would physically harm me or my sons," Pam Maley told Six. "I do not have a problem with lifting the no-contact order. ... At some point, we need to talk."

Six granted the request based on her statement. Before he heard it, Six said he was concerned about reports in a mental health evaluation that Darrel Maley was "becoming increasingly suspicious and jealous" that his wife was involved in a relationship outside the marriage and that he had made violent comments directed toward her.

Six said Pam Maley could seek a protective order later if she believed it were necessary.

As part of the plea agreement, Six agreed to reduce Darrel Maley's bond to $25,000 on condition that he check into a mental health center.

Chahine said Maley bonded out Tuesday to seek help, and the family has provided support during the last few weeks.

Other than probation, the conviction can carry an 11- to 34-month prison sentence. Six scheduled sentencing for Feb. 8.

Chahine said Maley is focused on also finding employment after he finishes treatment.

"We expect there would be a great deal of restitution," Assistant Douglas County District Attorney Angela Wilson said.


frank mcguinness 10 years, 6 months ago

As a concerned party I am happy to see this end quickly and the healing begin.

penelope54 10 years, 6 months ago

I am sorry that this had happened to these two wonderful people. I know them, not real well, but know them. I don't think that either one of them would harm each other. The hope is that they settle their divorce peacefully, let things go and get on with their lives. It always takes two people to "tango" and one of them just went overboard, but both their fault. You just don't know what will or who will make a person do what this man did, but it is in all of us, not as drastic, but we all have skeletons in our closets. Also my hope is that these two people not make their mistakes someone elses and that they help those people who helped them out. There were no other people coming to the rescue other than a few. So make it easy on yourselves, let go.

When I met these two people it was a hand shake and a hug and that doesn't seem to me as a person who would do anything to hurt his family. Angry comes out of all people in different ways, so don't judge this person as a bad person, just a very frustrated and hurt individual.

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