Former probation officer receives probation

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A former Bowie County, Texas, probation officer was sentenced to a one-year probation Monday in Miller County, Ark., for setting a dumpster on fire at his apartment complex last year.

Brandon Kent Wright, 31, was arrested Sept. 6, 2017, by Texarkana, Ark., Fire Marshal Stephen Johnson after Johnson watched him ignite a dumpster at the Links Apartments. Wright was a resident of the apartment complex at the time.

According to earlier press statements from the Texarkana, Ark., Fire Department, Stephen Johnson was conducting surveillance because of a series of six dumpster fires at the complex which began in July 2017. Wright was arrested and charged with felony arson.

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At a hearing Monday before Circuit Judge Kirk Johnson in Miller County, Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Black said his office had agreed to reduce the charge to misdemeanor unlawful burning. As part of the plea bargain, Wright must continue receiving mental health treatment he began following his arrest and release on a $15,000 bond.

Wright was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, court costs, and restitution for the burned-out dumpster. The equipment required new paint and replacement of the plastic lids was necessary because of damage caused by the flames.

Texarkana defense attorney Joe Tyler told the court that he contacted the victim in the case and determined restitution at $530. Tyler said Wright came to court with a money order for that amount.

Should Wright violate the terms of his probation or commit a new offense while on probation, he could be ordered to serve time in the county jail.

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