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Man pleads not guilty to allegations he tried to burn down house following eviction notice
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Man pleads not guilty to allegations he tried to burn down house following eviction notice

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Travis Roundy

Travis Roundy

A Utah man on Thursday morning pleaded not guilty in Natrona County District Court to charges alleging that he tried to burn down a central Casper house after his landlord said he would be evicted.

Travis Roundy, 29, by video from a local jail entered his pleas two felonies: a single count each of property destruction and first-degree arson. During his brief appearance, Roundy, who has lived in Casper about 10 months, otherwise spoke only to answer procedural and biographical questions posed by Judge Catherine Wilking.

Although Marty Scott, the public defender appointed to represent Roundy, asked the judge to reduce bond in the case from $25,000 to $7,500, the judge declined to do so. In making her bond decision, Wilking referenced only the nature of the charges, and not a prosecutor’s statement that Roundy is thought to be a flight risk.

According to court documents filed by prosecutors, when firefighters in late February arrived at the North Park Street house, they found Roundy and a woman on scene. A fire inside the house had been mostly confined to a set of basement stairs. Roundy said then, the documents state, that he had accidentally thrown a cigarette into a puddle of spilled fuel, igniting the fire.

Most fuels, according to a detective’s statement in the court documents, cannot be lit by cigarettes. When the detective spoke with Roundy’s landlord, he said that Roundy usually paid rent late, according to the documents. The documents state the landlord said that earlier in February he had sent Roundy a notice of eviction and that his interactions with Roundy were mostly “hostile.”

The landlord said that tires on his truck — parked about five blocks away — were slashed the same night as the fire, the documents state.

When the same detective examined the source of the fire in early March, he found no apparent sources of ignition but an indication a flammable liquid had been poured or spilled on the ground, according to the documents.

In early March, Roundy met with the detective and in an interview said that he had intentionally started the fire, according to the documents. The documents state that he said he did so in order to damage the building before being forced to move out at the end of the month.

The woman who was at the house with him, the documents state Roundy said, did not know he had intentionally set the fire.

Roundy fell asleep after firefighters extinguished the blaze and — a few hours later — woke up angry, according to the documents. He then drove to the landlord’s residence, parked around the block, walked to the driveway and stabbed the truck’s tires with a knife, the documents state he told a detective.

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Crime and Courts Reporter

Shane Sanderson joined the Star-Tribune in 2017. He covers courts and law enforcement agencies in Natrona County and across the state. Shane studied journalism at the University of Missouri and worked at newspapers there before moving to Wyoming.

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