Man pleads not guilty to igniting house
WASHINGTON, Iowa (GTNS) – Jonathan Leo Beam pleaded not guilty at his arraignment hearing Oct. 31 at the Washington County Courthouse.
Beam is charged with second-degree arson, which is a Class C felony, punishable up to 10 years in prison, according to his court records.
Beam has requested a speedy trial, according to the written non-guilty plea from his arraignment. His trial is set for 9:30 a.m. Dec. 17 at the Washington County Courthouse.
Beam is still in custody at the Washington County Jail, his court record said. His bond was set at $20,000 cash or surety only at his bail hearing on Oct. 21, according to the court records.
On Oct. 1, a fire was reported at 2180 Lexington Blvd. in Washington, which was right across from the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, according to a press release from the Washington County Communications Center. The residence was listed as Beam’s residence, the press release said.
The Washington Fire Depart-ment, Kalona Fire Depart-ment, Ainsworth Fire Department, Brighton Fire Department, Washington Police Department, and the Washington County Sheriff’s Department all responded to the scene. The state fire marshal’s office was contacted and also reported to the scene of the fire, the press release said.
No one was in the house at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported. A search warrant was executed at 5 p.m. Oct. 1, at the same residence, the Washington County Communications Center call log said. John McMahon is the owner of the home.
The court record said that after the fire was out, burn patterns consistent with accelerants being poured on the floors of the hallways were found. The records also reported that outside of the west kitchen door, two 15-minute flare packages were located on the ground. The report states that there were supposed to be three flares in each package; however, the flares were not located.
Beam was located in Hebron, Neb. A search warrant was served on his person and the vehicle, which recovered Beam’s clothes and shoes smelling strongly of gasoline. A search of the vehicle located five road flares that matched the packaging at the scene. Receipts were found showing the purchase of gas, flares and a torch on the morning of the fire.