Clinton man pleads guilty

CLINTON — A Clinton man who said he heard voices prior to setting fire to a residence pleaded guilty to one felony and one misdemeanor charge.

Jody R. Miller, 30, 2916 Roosevelt St., upper apartment, appeared Thursday in Clinton County District Court and pleaded guilty to the lesser included offense of third-degree arson, an aggravated misdemeanor, and threats, a Class D felony. The plea is an open plea. The State can make any sentencing recommendation. Sentencing is set for 9:30 a.m. July 19.

Miller originally was charged with first-degree arson, a Class B felony.

District Court Judge John Telleen ordered, pursuant to the recommendation of Clinton County Attorney Mike Wolf and defense attorney Harold DeLange, that Miller’s terms of release be modified to supervised pre-trial release with the Seventh Judicial District Department of Corrections. A condition of release is Miller completing a New Directions evaluation and placement at the King House or an equivalent facility.

According to the affidavit, at 3:23 p.m. March 3, officers were dispatched to 2619 Roosevelt St. to assist the Clinton Fire Department in reference to a fire call. The caller said he noticed his neighbor crawling out of the apartment at 2916 Roosevelt St., from where the fire was located. Clinton Fire Department units arrived and were able to control the fire in the upper apartment and in the stairwell of the complex.

The battalion chief stated the person that had crawled out of the apartment duplex, later identified as Miller, was outside in the back of the residence.

The affidavit states an officer made contact with Miller, who said he was in his upstairs apartment at 2916 Roosevelt St., watching movies when he heard voices coming from the stairs leading to his apartment. Miller said he felt threatened so he put paint thinner in a glass beer bottle, put a cloth in the top of the bottle and then lit the cloth on fire. Miller said he carried the lit bottle past the window, which set the curtain on fire.

Miller said he walked to the top of the stairwell and threw the lit bottle to the bottom of the stairs. An officer observed black soot on Miller’s hands and face and could detect the odor of smoke on Miller. Miller stated he had a pipe in his shorts pocket he used for smoking marijuana. The officer removed the pipe from Miller’s pocket. An officer located a white lighter in Miller’s pocket. Miller confirmed he used the lighter to light the cloth on the bottle.