Circuit Court Judge Dale Cathell sentenced Matthew Raymond “Ray” Doerr to 10 years in prison for starting the fire in March that destroyed the vacant house formerly located at 19 St. Louis Ave. in Snow Hill on Wednesday.
Doerr was visibly shocked by the sentence, and his longtime girlfriend burst into tears, since he had agreed to a plea deal with State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby that carried a sentencing recommendation for half the amount of time.
Doerr originally faced charges of first-degree arson and destruction of property exceeding $1,000 in value. Oglesby amended the charging document to second-degree arson and agreed to not prosecute the second charge in exchange for a guilty plea.
First-degree arson is used for houses, and second-degree is for “structures,” Oglesby said during the case. The maximum sentence for first-degree arson is 30 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines, while second-degree arson carries a maximum of 20 years and in $30,000 fines.