Third Inmate Sentenced for Arson at Jail


HOUSTON, Mo. – The third of three former inmates in the Texas County Jail to plead guilty to setting a fire at the jail in June of 2017 has been sentenced to seven years in prison for the offense.

On Tuesday (2/6/18), Tearance Conners pleaded guilty to arson and was sentenced by Texas County Circuit Judge William Hickle, according to online court records.

Conners, 32, and Cody J. Stafford, 29, both of Ava, and David L. Cook, 35, of Mountain Grove, were seen on jail security cameras in the vicinity of a toilet area in Wing 4 of the jail where the fire started, according to a probable cause statement filed in the incident. Two could be seen putting items in the area, including a mat, a blanket and toilet paper.

According to the statements, Connor admitted using a lighter to start the fire, which caused evacuation of the wing and sent four inmates to seek medical attention for smoke inhalation.

The Houston Herald reported at the time that the three men were part of a group of inmates transferred to the Texas County Jail from Wright County, after a similar fire there the week before.

Stafford and Cook pleaded guilty in December to first-degree arson and each was sentenced to 10 years in prison, court record show.

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