Evidence left behind led to conviction of arsonists
By Robin Scott
Three men arrested and charged with the arson of a Dalhart Police vehicle pled guilty, according to Dallam County District Attorney David Green. The plea agreements reached in each of the men’s criminal cases included restitution to the city of Dalhart for the damage to the squad car.
Winston Barnes, age 21 at the time of the crime, and the man found responsible for setting the fire to the police car of Officer Adam Henley, received 10 years felony probation, a $2,500 fine and 90 days in jail in a plea agreement reached in August.
The other two defendants pled guilty for their part in the incident. Kyle Bolton, age 18, received three years felony probation, and a $2,500 fine. Oscar Gomez, age 18, received three years felony probation in a plea agreement reached on November 30th. Gomez’s plea deal concluded the entire arson prosecution.
The men were arrested in March 2009 following the arson on February 24th of this year. Officer Adam Henley’s police cruiser was set on fire in front of his residence on Peters Street. He heard a popping sound, and when he looked out of the window, he saw his vehicle in flames and called 911. At the time of the incident, Lt. Mike Ford with the Dalhart Police Department noted, “It feels like an act of terrorism against the entire city of Dalhart.”
According to D.A. Green, “The arrest and subsequent convictions of the three defendants were largely due to evidence left at the scene.” Further, shortly after the incident, Detectives with the Dalhart Police Department received an anonymous tip from a Dalhart resident that had learned the identity of the men. The person providing the tip came forward immediately upon the discovery that the three men had set the car on fire.
As part of the terms of probation for Barnes, Bolton and Gomez, each is ordered to pay his portion of the damage caused to the cruiser. The total restitution to the city of Dalhart was $1,468.