Plea aggreement reached in former arson case

A Spanaway man was sentenced to one year, eight months in prison Friday for a Nov. 3, 2011 altercation with a Satsop man that ended with a burning mobile home.

Michael L. Potts Jr., 38, was sentenced to prison for first-degree burglary and 364 days for reckless burning, a gross misdemeanor. The charge was originally first-degree arson but was reduced as part of a plea agreement after the victim’s recent death.

He was sentenced Friday in Grays Harbor Superior Court, and the sentences will be served concurrently.

According to court documents, Potts went to a 60-year-old man’s trailer at about 10:30 that night looking for a woman named Sugar, displaying bail agent credentials. His credentials had actually been revoked after he allegedly broke into a location looking for a suspect who had already been arrested by police.

When the man didn’t know who the woman was, court documents state Potts attacked him and entered the home. The victim told police he saw Potts make a throwing motion, then heard an explosion before his mobile home caught fire.

The victim suffered substantial burns when he tried to re-enter the trailer to rescue his dog.

A trial April 2012 resulted in a hung jury, but charges against Potts were re-filed.

Potts initially denied he had been in the area at all but later said he had been sent to the area to find a fugitive at the request of another former bail agent, who he said would be prepared to testify at trial.

Potts has said he disagrees with the state’s presentation of the facts and denies setting fire to the mobile home. In his sentencing statement, he said he only defended himself after the man attacked him.

Still, he said, he was remorseful about his actions leading up to the altercation.

“Mr. Potts realizes he exercised poor judgment in how he approached this situation,” his sentencing statement read.

His standard sentencing range was one year, three months to one year, eight months. He requested a sentence less than his standard range, a downward exceptional sentence, because of health problems that would be exacerbated by incarceration.

Instead, the top of the standard range was imposed.


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