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    Lander man accused of arson after argument over salad

    A 25-year-old Lander man is facing up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000 if convicted of first-degree arson from an event in February 2018.

    On February 16th at 2:22 a.m., the Lander Police Department and Lander Fire Department were dispatched to a residence for a structure fire.

    At the scene, LPD contacted a woman who told them she rented the property that was on fire. She explained to officers that on the evening of February 15th, her boyfriend Nelson Freeman was spending time at her house. Court documents show that during the course of that evening the two had, “gotten into a heated verbal argument over a salad.” The woman told authorities that Freeman was, “intoxicated and became belligerent” so she kicked him out of the house.

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    Approximately 20 minutes after Freeman had left the residence, the woman received a call from him. Freeman told her that her residence was on fire.

    Authorities interviewed a neighbor who explained that she and her husband had been in bed when they heard, “the repeated sound of glass breaking next door.” After looking out of their window, they explained seeing the house with, “every light on” and “multiple windows that had been broken out.” The neighbor also said she smelled a burning odor. She recalled seeing a “flickering light” in one of the bedrooms and realized that the room was on fire. She called authorities, and quickly alerted her neighbor of the fire.

    The neighbor told authorities that she had seen a male subject looking out of the broken window and could “clearly see his face.” She recognized the man to be Nelson Freeman, whom she said she knows personally and is familiar with his appearance.

    On March 26th, an investigator with the Wyoming Department of Fire Prevention and Electrical Safety completed an investigation report. The report detailed that the fire had begun in a bedroom and was “incendiary.” It was noted the fire started when “a direct flame from a wooden match was presented to ignite the lightweight fabric on the bed in the bedroom by a person for the purpose of intentionally setting the fire.”

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    In June, a woman that had spoken with Freeman told authorities he admitted to her that he started the fire. Freeman explained it was because he was, “pissed off” at his girlfriend. The woman said he explained, “I really regret doing it, but s*** happens.” Court documents also show that Freeman apologized to his former girlfriend for, “trying to burn down your house.”

    On December 18th Freeman’s preliminary hearing was waived and transferred to District Court for arraignment at a later date.

    If convicted, he faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $20,000.

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    All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

     

     

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