|Man gets home monitoring for attempted church arson|
|Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff|
|Saturday, 14 December 2013 09:16|
A Deshler man was sentenced Friday to community control on an attempted arson charge stemming from an incident at a North Baltimore church.
Jeremiah Houk, 32, appeared in the courtroom of Wood County Judge Alan Mayberry.
Houk was initially indicted on one count of arson and one count of breaking and entering following the Aug. 26 incident at the Praise Chapel, located at 500 W. Broadway St.
Houk had reportedly thrown "a flammable cocktail intentionally to set fire" to the site.
As part of a plea agreement, the breaking and entering count was dropped and the arson count was amended to attempted arson.
Houk's attorney, William Stephenson, said that "although this is a felony 5, as felony 5 attempted arson goes, this is an extremely heinous offense, extremely offensive to the community."
He noted that while the church had "turned the other cheek," he did not expect such action from the court.
However, Stephenson noted the defendant's "drug-dealing, drug-addicted father" introduced Houk to marijuana at a young age.
"It's just been a history of drug abuse and alcoholism since then."
Stephenson said that Houk told him he'd committed the offense during a "blackout" period; he reportedly acted out of anger about "his crumbling life."
Prosecuting Attorney Aram Ohanian said that with Houk's attempt to burn down a church "there are of course societal and religious overtones to that which made it a more serious offense."
"I quit drinking for three years. I relapsed," said Houk in court. "This action shows I can't drink."
Mayberry sentenced Houk to two years of community control, including 60 days of electronic home monitoring.
He also must enter the intensive supervision program.
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