Arson suspect pleads to ‘reckless burning’ in Langley

A 28-year-old man suspected in a series of arson fires in a neighborhood near Langley pleaded guilty to a lesser charge Monday as a part of a plea bargain.

Ryan Parish stands in court Monday next to his attorney

A 28-year-old man suspected in a series of arson fires in a neighborhood near Langley pleaded guilty to a lesser charge Monday as a part of a plea bargain.

Ryan T. Parish was originally charged with two counts of second-degree arson. He pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court to reckless burning in the second degree.

The judge agreed with the recommended sentence from the prosecution and defense and sent him to jail for 90 days.

Eric Ohme, the senior deputy prosecutor, said in court Monday that the prosecution didn’t have enough evidence to pursue the arson charges against Parish. A deputy with night-vision goggles caught him burning leaves and garbage, but there was little to tie him directly to a series of five arson fires in the Whitehorse Lane neighborhood last fall.

In addition, Parish’s attorney, Peter Simpson of Coupeville, said his client will receive mental health counseling under the terms of plea bargain. Parish’s mother spoke at the hearing, promising that she will keep a close eye on her son.

The fires in the small neighborhood occurred last September and October. The arsonist targeted fences, a portable toilet, a brush pile and a car port, which sustained significant damage.

Deputies with the Island County Sheriff’s Office suspected Parish because he had reported one of the fires and has a juvenile history of arson, according to court documents. A deputy conducted a late-night stakeout in the woods near Parish’s home Oct. 19 and caught him setting fire to a large pile of trash bags.

Joel Connelly, a columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, has a cabin on South Whidbey and was one of the victims. He wrote a victim impact statement detailing the good work that Parish did gardening and caretaking for him.

He describes him as a shy young man who came from a very challenged background and has “an almost puppy-like need for praise.”

“Ryan Parish needs a break, even if he is convicted and punished,” Connelly wrote, adding that he hopes Parish receives counseling and skills training.

 

More in News

State lawmakers re-consider eliminating statute of limitations on sex crimes

By Taylor McAvoy WNPA Olympia News Bureau A bill passed in the… Continue reading

Federal marijuana stance doesn’t change anything for Whidbey entrepreneurs, law enforcement

The U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared that federal cannabis laws will… Continue reading

Rising acidity levels could put marine life at risk, expert says

Reversing the consequences of ocean acidification would be like steering the Titanic… Continue reading

More savings, profits than expected at closed school, center

The closure of Langley Middle School is estimated to save more money… Continue reading

Port of Coupeville commissioners not liable in lawsuit

Two Port of Coupeville commissioners won’t be individually liable in a lawsuit… Continue reading

Tokitae returns to Clinton-to-Mukilteo ferry route

The MV Tokitae is back in action. The 144-vehicle vessel returned to… Continue reading

Machete-wielding Oak Harbor man accused of rape

A man is accused of chasing a woman with a machete and… Continue reading

Lockdown on base lifted, no evidence of gunfire found

Navy security wasn’t able to identify a noise that caused the lock… Continue reading

Island County Court District Judge looking for court commissioner

A long time court commissioner in Island County District Court resigned last… Continue reading

Most Read