The U.S. attorney announced late today that Jason Woodring, 38, of Jacksonville, had pleaded guilty to charges from damages he did to Central Arkansas’s power grid in August and October of 2013. He’ll get 15 years in prison if a judge approves the deal.
The Times’ Will Stephenson told the tale of Woodring in a cover story last June.
Woodring sabotaged an electric support tower, bringing down a 500,000-volt power line onto railroad tracks near Cabot; set fire to a high voltage switching station near Cabot, and cut down two power poles that interrupted service to 9,000 people in Jacksonville. The government put the damages at more than $4.6 million.
He was charged in an eight-count indictment in November 2013. Said a news release:
Pursuant to a plea agreement with the United States, Woodring pleaded guilty to Destruction of an Energy Facility for downing the Cabot power lines (Count Two) and for setting fire to the Scott power station (Count Three). He also pleaded guilty to Using Fire to Commit a Felony (Count Four) in relation to the arson in Scott. Finally, Woodring pleaded guilty to being an illegal drug user in possession of various firearms and ammunition (Count Eight) and agreed to forfeit the firearms and ammunition.
U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer praised multiple agencies for help in the investigation.
Judge Billy Roy Wilson will sentence Woodring June 18. He’ll set a restitution amount at that time.