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

See Rover run, see Rover read

Library goes to the dogs with therapy training

Whale of a piggy bank

Will a whale make a good pig? A Langley arts group is… Continue reading

EDC asks for more money

The Economic Development Council for Island County is seeking to re-brand, but… Continue reading

Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group
                                Clay Canfield helps Terri Marie Desrosiers into the Island Transit RideLink van that transports veterans to medical appointments.
New van for veterans helps with health care

It’s not an ambulance, fire truck or other rescue vehicle. But to… Continue reading

‘Bipartisan’ lawmaker faces challenger

When it comes to campaigning, state Rep. Norma Smith and her challenger… Continue reading

Burglar burned hole in door

A 17-year-old Mukilteo boy is accused of staying at a rental house… Continue reading

Fingerprints lead to suspect

Fingerprints led police to a suspect in the burglary of a South… Continue reading

Dryer fire extinguished

A swift response by South Whidbey firefighters saved a structure after a… Continue reading

DNA leads to burglary suspect

DNA evidence led to charges being filed against a man who allegedly… Continue reading

Most Read