Arson plea deal avoids prison
January 22, 2014
A 29-year-old Carroll man will plead guilty to felony arson next month for a series of fires he allegedly ignited near his apartment over the course of a year, court documents show.
Joshua Norbert Renze faces up to 10 years in prison for the charge, but under a plea deal with Carroll County Attorney John Werden, Renze's prison sentence will likely be suspended in favor of probation, according to a plea agreement that both men signed.
In exchange for the plea, Werden wrote that he will drop two related misdemeanor charges for reckless use of fire.
A court hearing in which Renze is expected to plead guilty is set for Feb. 3.
Renze was arrested in October after he allegedly ignited a rag and garbage can and tossed them out of his apartment in the 200 block of Main Street, which set fire to a couch. Then, two hours later, he allegedly tossed a fiery rag out of his apartment window into a trash bin.
Carroll firefighters previously responded to trash-bin fires in that area in June 2012 and April 2013, Fire Chief Greg Schreck has said.
No one was injured in the fires, but the 2012 apartment fire - in which Renze allegedly ignited a rag and put it on the living room floor of a neighbor's apartment - caused substantial damage to the apartment.
Renze underwent a court-ordered substance-abuse assessment in November, court records show, but the details of that assessment are not publicly available.
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