A Webster man has been charged with multiple counts of arson and two domestic violence related charges after allegedly burning items belonging to his girlfriend and her children.
James L. Harper, 54, Webster, was charged with three counts of arson of property other than building, one count of disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property.
According to the criminal complaint, Harper’s girlfriend, Kimberly Sondrall, told authorities in August that Harper had allegedly trashed their house and may have killed her dog.
Sondrall said she had gone to her sister’s house when Harper arrived and was yelling at her. He then left and that’s when she started receiving text messages from Harper late on the night of Aug. 4.
The complaint continues to explain Sondrall was receiving text messages from Harper stating he was burning items in the house. She said items burned included her children’s mattresses, her mattress, the kitchen table along with kitchen chairs and books.
When officers arrived on the scene they noted springs that appeared to be from a large mattress and beds missing from both bedrooms in the house. At this point Sondrall showed an officer a text to Harper asking about her dog and the officer reported Harper allegedly sent a text message back saying “dead.”
Officers then spoke with a man who was fishing with Harper earlier in the day and said when Harper arrived at Sondrall’s house he “was really drunk.”
The man then told police he advised Harper to go to bed after bringing him home that night. He said Harper had sent him a text message saying he was burning “everything.”
Officers then saw a picture of a kitchen table and chairs on fire.
The arson counts are felony charges and each could result in a maximum $10,000 fine, three and a half years in prison, or both. The disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property are both misdemeanor charges and if found guilty Harper could face a total of $11,000 in fines, approximately a year in prison, or both.
Harper’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 2 in front of Judge Melissia Mogen.