KOSCIUSKO — A Huntington man was sentenced on Thursday, July 18, to three years at the Indiana Department of Corrections after allegedly setting fire to a residence.
Trenton Clifton Bowers, 38, 948 Salamonie Ave., Huntington, was charged with two counts of arson, level 4 felonies; and stalking, a level 6 felony. A criminal mischief charge was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
On Oct. 29, 2018, Warsaw Fire Department was contacted by North Webster Fire Department in regards to a possible arson. Officials went to the residence and saw damage to the building that was determined to be arson.
According to court documents, an officer with the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office spoke with a woman who owned the residence. On Oct. 27, the woman woke up to a burning smell and could not find the source. On Oct. 29, the woman saw that some siding of her residence had fire damage and contacted the fire department.
Officers also found surveillance video that showed a man, later identified as Bowers, stalking around the residence on Oct. 30 and 31.
On Nov. 1, the woman contacted the officer again and said she found fire damage to the west side of her residence. The officer went to the residence and confirmed the fire as arson. That same day, officers saw Bowers stalking around the residence and talked with him. While searching Bowers, officers found a lighter.
Bowers admitted to setting fire to the residence on Oct. 27 and Oct. 31. He also admitted to going to the woman’s residence and watching her. The woman also told officers that during this time period, she was having issues with her vehicles not running. She got a loaner car and also had issues with that vehicle. The woman said it was possible that Bowers was tampering with the vehicles.
During Bowers’ sentencing, the mother of the victim spoke.
“My daughter and grandchildren were in that house when he did what he did,” said the woman. “When I think of almost losing my family, it tears me apart. He has plenty of family support with him here today, so I don’t understand why he did what he did.”
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Brad Voelz discussed Bowers’ criminal history.
“There have been a number of occasions that he has stalked and attacked the victim in this case,” said Voelz.
Defense Attorney Jay Rigdon talked about Bowers seeking therapy and counseling.
“There is no defending that this incident is an issue,” said Rigdon. “But Mr. Bowers has been going through therapy and decided to get the help that he needs. Based upon his history, he realized that he needed to get that help. People who support him all agree that this was a huge aberration in his behavior.”
“I’ve gone through a dramatic change, but I feel extremely remorseful,” said Bowers. “I am sorry for everything that’s transpired.”
“It’s great to see you’re going through therapy and you have a minimal criminal history,” said Kosciusko Superior Court One Judge David Cates. “But you have a previous case of invasion of privacy. I have this fear that your history is only escalating.”
For each charge of arson, Cates sentenced Bowers to six years in the Department of Corrections. Three years for each charge was suspended on formal probation. Bowers was also sentenced to one year at DOC for stalking, with the sentence suspended on probation. Both arson sentences will be served concurrently, and the stalking sentence will be served consecutively to the arson charges. Bowers must pay $5,717.29 in restitution to the victim. A no contact order between Bowers and the victim was also established.
“No contact means no contact,” said Cates. “This type of situation absolutely cannot be tolerated.”