Parowan arsonist sentenced after jury trial

Composite image. Foreground image shows booking photo of Douglas Jack Carter, Iron County, Utah, Nov. 2, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Iron County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — An Iron County judge has sentenced the man found guilty of setting a fire that destroyed a home in Parowan last year to a minimum of five years in prison.

The defendant, 32-year-old Douglas Jack Carter, was found guilty of first-degree felony aggravated arson during a two-day trial in June. Carter was relieved of two additional misdemeanor charges of arson.

Carter appeared before 5th District Court Judge Matthew Bell in Cedar City Monday for sentencing. Bell sentenced him to “an indeterminate term” of a minimum of 5 years to life in the Utah State Prison. The Board of Pardons will determine the amount of restitution Carter will be expected to pay the victims of the fire.

Bell addressed a letter Carter wrote asking him to overturn the jury’s verdict, which he denied.

At the time of the fire in early November, crews were called to a house in the area of 300 South in Parowan shortly before 4:30 a.m. When firefighters arrived, there was smoke coming from a small corner of the front room, but crews were able to quickly extinguish it before it could spread.

The inside of a home is gutted after a fire on 300 South in Parowan, Utah, Nov. 2, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Ken Carpenter, St. George News / Cedar City News

The city inspector was called to the home to check the electrical box near the fire but found nothing suspicious, according to a statement from Parowan Fire Chief David Schiers in November. During the day, firefighters checked for residual fire or rekindle multiple times.

Despite their efforts, the home was destroyed the following morning after fire crews were called to the same address and found flames engulfing the roof.

According to court documents, Carter was on the scene of the fire “watching firefighters and asking questions.” Detectives said he has a history of starting fires, and court records reveal Carter confessed to lighting the fire.

Carter told police he poured gas on a wall and lit the fire with a wooden match, which officials were able to corroborate with evidence presented during the trial.

The investigation later revealed that the home was two houses away from the suspect’s and belonged to a family member.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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