MIAMI COUNTY — Miami County Common Pleas Judge Christopher Gee sentenced Richard T. Bryant Jr. to serve 17 months in prison for setting a family member’s garage on fire last December.
A jury found Bryant, 39, of Piqua, guilty of fourth-degree felony arson on Sept. 14. Deliberations lasted approximately 25 minutes after closing arguments were made by assistant prosecutor Janna Parker and defense attorney Stephen King.
According to police reports, a witness saw Bryant allegedly setting fire to the garage belonging to his uncle, Larry Bryant, using lighter fluid around 1 a.m. last December at 825 Boal Ave. in Piqua.
Judge Gee noted Bryant’s lack of acceptance in regards to the jury’s verdict. Gee stated he believed the evidence presented was significant and “overwhelming” in the case against Bryant.
Bryant maintained his innocence, stating, he was going to prison “for something I didn’t do.” Bryant also had to be coaxed by a courtroom sheriff’s officer to answer Judge Gee’s questions regarding his arson registration compliance once he is released from prison.
King stated Bryant had a tumultuous upbringing and doesn’t view the world as most members of society. King also said Bryant is “in constant survival mode” and a lengthy prison sentenced would not likely rehabilitate him. Parker asked for the maximum sentence due to Bryant’s actions, lack of remorse and responsibility. Parker noted Bryant’s actions had the potential to have caused more damage and harm to the nearby home and its occupants.
Damage to the siding and roof of the garage was estimated to cost $6,644, according to the property owner’s insurance company.