Harma sentenced to 10 years for arson
December 3, 2009
Tim Leeds Havre Daily News [email protected]
Shayne J. Harma of Havre, born in 1985, was sentenced in state District Court in Havre this week to 10 years in prison with five suspended on each of five felony counts, to be served concurrently. The charges stem from a series of arsons in Highland Park last year. Judge E. Wayne Phillips ordered Harma to pay $10,502.19 restitution for damage done to a residence in one of the fires and to pay $7,674,52 restitution for the other fires, plus a 10 percent surcharge, and to pay fees and surcharges on each of the felony counts. Harma was charged with six counts of arson, one of burglary and one of criminal endangerment, all felonies, last year after an investigation into a series of fires. He pleaded guilty in an agreement Aug. 26 to three counts of arson and to the burglary and criminal endangerment charges. Under the plea agreement, the Hill County Attorney's Office has requested the remaining charges be dismissed. According to a court document, Harma moved to Havre from Cairo, Ill., shortly before the first fire occurred on Aug. 30, 2008. He also was a suspect in an investigation into a series of fires that occurred in Cairo before he moved to Havre. Investigators began to be suspicious that the fires were manmade after the same garage in Highland Park, on Washington Avenue, burned on Aug. 30, Aug. 31, and Sept. 14, 2008. A van near the garage burned Sept. 17, 2008, and another garage, on Wilson Avenue, burned Sept. 21, 2008. Harma was arrested after he was questioned in regards to a final fire at A residence on Boulevard Avenue on Sept. 24. The resident of the building was sleeping inside when the fire was discovered. Havre pol ice increased patrols in the area where the fires occurred after the Sept. 21 fire. An officer on patrol Sept. 24 saw smoke and found the residence on Boulevard Avenue on fire, the document said. The officer called for the Havre Fire Department to respond. After getting the resident out of the building, the officer began to use a garden hose on the fire until the firefighters arrived. An area resident told officers investigating the fire that Harma had worked a late shift that night, and another resident said he was suspicious of Harma in connection to the fires.