Arson suspect arrested for connection to multiple fires - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Arson suspect arrested in connection to multiple fires

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The damage left at the property of Roger Coke from one of the fires Brandon Bates is accused of setting. The damage left at the property of Roger Coke from one of the fires Brandon Bates is accused of setting.
Roger Coke Roger Coke
More of the damage on Coke's property from the arson fire. More of the damage on Coke's property from the arson fire.
Jeremy Mull Jeremy Mull

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - Police in southern Indiana say they have the man responsible for widespread arson in custody. Brandon Lee Bates, 20, is charged with starting fires in Jefferson and Clark counties.

Bates, who is in custody at the Jefferson County, Indiana jail, admitted to setting four fires there. Fire officials in Jefferson County, Kentucky are looking to add charges as well after he confessed to setting dumpsters on fire in Louisville. 

According to Jeffersonville Police, Bates intentionally set a fire that destroyed an airplane, a barn and a couple of vehicles in the 3000 block of Utica Pike last March causing thousands of dollars in damage. Roger Coke, the property owner, said what he lost was worth at least $80,000. The most invaluable possessions were family heirlooms passed down from his mother and father and a 1946 Air Coupe airplane. Coke did not have insurance and is doing the cleanup himself.   

"That's the third dumpster load that I've picked up out here," said Coke, "and I still have a couple more to go." 

Court documents say Bates started the fire with paper and matches and watched the fire burn with excitement. The documents also say Bates posting pictures on Facebook with the caption, "the highlight of my night."

In addition, the court papers state Bates told police he started the fire because fire was his way of relieving stress due to its calming nature. The papers say Bates watched the fires burn and got excitement it.

Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull says Bates faces six to 20 years if convicted of the arson of Coke's property.

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