Donald Aaron 34, of Stuttgart appeared in federal court Monday to plead guilty to a charge of arson in a Sept. 23, 2014 fire in the Stuttgart courthouse annex. The fire damaged the building so much it had to be demolished, with a loss valued at $2.2 million.
Aaron was indicted in February. His plea bargain is to a single count of maliciously destroying a building in interstate commerce. The charge carries a 7- to 40-year sentence.
Security cameras recorded Aaron walking to and from the area of the building just before of the fire. He was carrying objects and at ties seems to hide his face. He was seen near a broken first-floor window that was used to gain entry.
A news release from the U.S. attorney’s office said Aaron admitted lighting the fire. He said he was attempting to smoke methamphetamine using foil and a lighter when a flame shot up 18 inches high. He flew the flaming foil down and fled. The fire caught the building on fire.
Sentencing will be later.