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By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — A 58-year-old Ridgeland man who pleaded guilty to criminal damage to property and negligent handling of burning material related to a garage fire near Elk Mound in 2012 has finished paying restitution.
At a court hearing June 17, Judge Rod Smeltzer dismissed a felony count of attempted arson on the basis of restitution being paid and no costs remaining in a case against Roger I. Thompson.
Thompson was not at the court hearing.
Thompson pleaded guilty in January of 2013 on one misdemeanor count each of criminal damage to property and negligent handling of burning material.
At the time of Thompson’s plea and sentencing hearing, the case was before Judge William Stewart Jr., who has since retired from the bench.
In addition to the guilty pleas on the two misdemeanor charges, Judge Stewart accepted a deferred prosecution agreement on one felony count of attempted arson.
According to on-line court records, because restitution had not yet been paid, Thompson’s probation was extended by one year in December of 2013, was again extended for one year in January of 2015, and was extended yet again for another year during a January 15, 2016, court hearing.
According to the plea agreement, if Thompson successfully completed probation and paid $3,000 in restitution, the felony count of attempted arson would be dismissed.
At the June 17 hearing, Judge Smeltzer also ordered that a $500 cash bail be vacated.
According to the criminal complaint, on the afternoon of May 19, 2012, Dunn County Sheriff Department’s deputies responded to a complaint of a fire inside a Town of Elk Mound building on state Highway 12/29.
When deputies arrived on the scene, a woman who identified herself as Megan Svee reported that a man known to her as Roger Thompson had started a fire inside of the building.
Svee said when she attempted to confront Thompson, he had locked her out of the building.
According to the criminal complaint, deputies said when they entered the building, they could smell smoke and found debris that had been burned and was still hot to the touch. Two one-gallon gas cans were located within about a foot of the burned materials, they said.
When asked what her relationship was to the property, Svee said the property was owned by Judith Hayden, Svee’s grandmother, and that Hayden had asked Svee to keep an eye on the property.
Thompson had started renting the property the previous summer, had only paid $400, and an eviction was currently in the process, Svee had told deputies.