Edwardsburg arsonist gets 5 yearsPublished 1:43pm Friday, October 5, 2012
CASSOPOLIS — A 23-year-old Edwardsburg man who went on a fiery rampage through his hometown earlier this year will spend the next five years in prison.
Adam Sheneman pleaded guilty in August to several charges stemming from when he and co-defendant, Connor Lee, set fire to Midwest Timber in the Edwardsburg Industrial Complex in the early morning hours of Feb. 15.
Cass County Circuit Court Judge Michael Dodge sentenced Sheneman to a minimum of five years in the Michigan Department of Corrections Friday and ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $712,000.
“This offense has created an extensive amount of damage,” Dodge said. “And you never know who could be working in these buildings — someone could have been burned alive in there … some firemen could have died.”
The court heard Sheneman and Lee wandered into the industrial park Feb. 15 intending to do some damage. The defendants then poured a large amount of diesel fuel on the ground and set fire to the Midwest Timber building. They also did damage to and stole property from other nearby businesses.
“Some hardworking businesses suffered a great deal and could have been looking at not surviving because of one night of the defendant trying to get his kicks,” said Tiffiny Vohwinkle, assistant prosecutor.
Prior to sentencing, Sheneman told the court he never meant to harm anyone and was afraid of going to prison.
“I think I’ve learned my lesson during my time at the county jail and I don’t want to go to prison,” he said.
Sheneman has an extensive prior criminal record, consisting of three felonies and 15 misdemeanors.
“I am really surprised at the extent of it (your record),” Dodge said. “So I am shocked when you say you don’t want to go to prison, but you’ve been conducting yourself in a way that would guarantee that’s what’s going to happen.
“This senseless type of vandalism does deserve substantial punishment.”
Sheneman received credit for 234 days served.