Bemidji man pleads not guilty to arson charge
BEMIDJI--A Bemidji man accused of intentionally setting a fire inside his deceased mother's mobile home pleaded not guilty to one charge of first-degree arson Monday.
BEMIDJI-A Bemidji man accused of intentionally setting a fire inside his deceased mother's mobile home pleaded not guilty to one charge of first-degree arson Monday.
Michael James Durant, 33, was released from the Beltrami County Jail earlier this month. At an Oct. 31 hearing, his attorney, public defender Laura Dahl, said the charges against him would likely be changed to first-degree damage to property.
Durant was still charged with first-degree arson as of Wednesday.
According to a criminal complaint, Durant was arrested Sept. 29 after a Beltrami County Sheriff's Deputy received a report of a fire inside the mobile home at the 14500 block of Roosevelt Road SE.
Durant allegedly set the fire-which was initially discovered by a relative and her boyfriend-by placing sage on top of a mattress and lighting it. The boyfriend extinguished the fire, the complaint said, then located Durant outside the mobile home.
When deputies arrested Durant, he told them he had been upset and intentionally started the fire, according to the complaint. When asked if he was going to burn the house down, "Durant simply stated that he was going to accept whatever happened."
Durant is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 3 for a pretrial hearing.