(Lander, WY) – 35-year-old Lander man Dillon Leonard faces a felony charge for arson in the 3rd degree for a November incident.
Arson in the third degree is defined as occurring when, “an area or property has been destroyed by fire with no one else present,” and if convicted, Leonard faces imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
Leonard waived his preliminary hearing, and the case is now moving to District Court, with an arraignment date to be determined.
On the night of November 16, 2020, Lander Police officers were dispatched to the back alley of a residence near Adams Street for reports of a vehicle fire.
Upon arrival, LPD reportedly found the vehicle in question engulfed in flames, along with a nearby shed, in the driveway next to the alley.
The State of Wyoming Fire Marshal was brought in to investigate the scene, where he deemed the fire to be “intentionally started, from the rear of the vehicle, where it then spread to the front.”
Contact was made with the owner of the vehicle, who was asked if she had any idea who might have started the fire. She then reportedly said yes, and named Leonard.
An interview was then conducted with the victim, where she informed LPD that she and Leonard had been acquainted for over a decade. She had recently been worried about his welfare because he had been allegedly, “using heroin and methamphetamine for the last three months.” She also stated that she had been, “checking on him daily.”
During one of these check-ins on the morning of the alleged incident, the victim stated they got into a “bad fight,” arguing for approximately two hours.
During this argument, Leonard allegedly said, “How would you like it if I burned your Jeep to the ground?” multiple times. It was also brought up by the victim that she had a number of her personal belongings in the vehicle.
The victim then stated she locked the doors of her vehicle that evening, but the back door was, “damaged and won’t lock,” a fact of which Leonard was allegedly aware.
The next day, November 17, LPD conducted an interview with Leonard, where he initially denied starting the fire, stating he was only there to “obtain some of his personal property in the vehicle.”
Upon further questioning, Leonard then reportedly stated, “I was drunk,” revealing he lit a cloth towel on fire and placed it on a pile of clothes outside the vehicle. “I lit it on fire, and I turned around, and left.”
To follow County 10’s coverage of this case as it progresses, click here.