POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (AP) - A former Air Force firefighter was
sentenced Thursday to up to 4 1/2 years in prison for setting a
fire last fall that killed nearly 200 cows.
Charles Miller III, 23, pleaded guilty April 8 to arson and
criminal mischief for setting fire Nov. 25 to a barn in Pleasant
Valley, 65 miles south of Albany.
"You have not only destroyed this man's cattle and his
buildings, you have essentially destroyed his life," Dutchess
County Court Judge Gerald Hayes told Miller in imposing a sentence
of 1 1/2 to 4 1/2 years.
Miller apologized in court to the barn's owner, David Melville.
Prosecutors said he started the fire around midnight, then
called in the alarm and helped firefighters put it out. The blaze
killed 177 head of cattle and caused up to $400,000 in damages.
The judge also ordered Miller to repay Melville $300,000.
When he set the fire, Miller was on leave from the 49th Civil
Engineers at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, N.M. He was
also a volunteer for a local fire company.
Prosecutors said he planned to take a civil service test to
become a New York City firefighter.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)