Casper Resident Mark Garrison Facing Trial In Arson Case
A trial is underway for a Casper man accused of intentionally burning down his estranged wife's mobile home.
Mark Garrison has pleaded not guilty to one charge of first degree arson.
Investigators with Casper Fire EMS say in late December 2013, a mobile home on 92 Yucca Circle was destroyed by a fire, and it was later determined that it was intentionally set.
Kathe Garrison was living in the home at the time, but was not there when the fire occurred.
She told investigators that she had been threatened numerous times by her estranged husband, Mark, that he was going to burn her house down with her in it, and kill her.
Before the fire, she had left her dog chained outside, and it was not there when she returned.
There was no evidence that the dog had broken loose.
An ex-friend of Mark told investigators that earlier on the day of the fire, he said he saw Mark take a five-gallon gas can and leave.
The ex-friend said Mark had stated the house was going to burn down anyhow, because of bad wiring.
When interviewed, Mark stated he was in Rock Springs at the time, but he could not provide times of arrival or an account of his travel, and stated he had reason to believe an electric water heater was improperly wired, and that it may have been the cause of the fire.
An investigation later determined that was not the case.
A neighboring house on Yucca Circle had a security camera, and the video showed a person walking nearby, then about 20 minutes later the same person walking the other way with a dog, and then about one minute later, the glow of the fire could be seen.
Mark was eventually arrested in Oregon in an unrelated matter, and he was extradited back to Wyoming.
The trial is scheduled for four days.
Normally, first degree arson is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, but prosecutors have stated they intend to seek habitual criminal status in this case, because Mark has two prior felony convictions.
If convicted, and labeled as a habitual criminal, he could receive an enhanced penalty of 10-to-50 years in prison.