Tuesday, March 10, 2015

TOP STORY >> Saboteur: ‘I’m guilty’

Jason Woodring, 38, of Jacksonville pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges related to attacks on the central Arkansas power grid between August and October 2013, according to the U.S. Attorney in Little Rock.

A release states that both parties have agreed on a 15-year prison stay for his causing about $4.59 million in damages, but Judge Billy Roy Wilson will sentence Woodring and determine the amount of restitution he will pay at a 10:30 a.m. hearing June 18.

He could receive a 60-year stint in prison, if the maximum sentence is levied. According to the release, Woodring could also face a $250,000 fine for each charge and up to three years of supervised release.

He was accused of sabotaging an electrical support tower and downing a 500,000-volt power line onto a railroad track near Cabot, causing approximately $550,000 worth of damage; cutting down two power poles, causing a temporary loss of power to approximately 9,000 people in Jacksonville; and setting fire to an extra high voltage switching station in Scott, causing over $4 million in damages.

Damages from the Jacksonville incident exceeded $48,000, according to First Electric Cooperative, the release continues.

Although Woodring was indicted on eight counts in November 2013, he pleaded guilty to two counts of destruction of an energy facility, using fire to commit a felony and being an illegal drug user in possession of various firearms and ammunition. The guns and ammunition were forfeited as part of the plea agreement.

Woodring had been in federal custody since his arrest, according to the release.

Destruction of an energy facility means up to 20 years in prison.

Use of a fire to commit a felony has a statutory sentence of 10 years that must be served consecutively with time assigned for the underlying felony.

Being a drug user in possession of a firearm or ammunition carries a possible sentence of up to 10 years.