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High Fire Danger Wednesday

Green Mountain Falls Arsonist Sentenced

Zachariah Shaffer

Zachariah Shaffer

The one of the men who burned down a historical landmark will spend more than a decade behind bars.

Only 11 News had a crew inside the courtroom when Zachariah Shaffer was sentenced to 12 years in the Department of Corrections.

Family and friends were there and cried as he the judge handed down his punishment.
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After being released from a hospital, the second suspect in the arson of the Green Mountain Falls town hall was booked by El Paso County Deputies. Kyle Lawrence was released on bond.

Lawrence, 22, was the man who barricaded himself inside a Colorado Springs home when the investigation into the alleged arson caught up to him. For several hours, Deputies say Lawrence refused to exit the house at 2034 Eagle View Drive. SWAT, deputies and ATF agents surrounded the home until he eventually did walk out voluntarily after about three hours.

After the standoff, Lawrence was taken to a burn care facility in Denver for the treatment of severe burns. Shaffer was also treated for less severe burns and later arrested on the charges of arson, burglary and conspiracy to commit arson. All are felonies.

According to court documents, Lawrence worked with Zachariah Shaffer, 21, to set the fire. When Shaffer was questioned at the hospital, he reportedly said that he had asked Lawrence to participate in the arson.

"Although [Shaffer] had only a speeding ticket and really had no bad dealings with the police, he had heard several people complain about how they were crooked bastards," the affidavit says. "Mr. Shaffer described himself and Mr. Lawrence as anti-government."
The pair allegedly planned to use a crowbar and sledge hammer to break into the town hall, but found an unlocked window instead. They were originally going to break the computers, but decided to burn the building instead.

Shaffer allegedly told the deputy they spread close to five gallons of gasoline inside the building and was headed to the window when he heard the vapors ignite. He threw the cans outside just before realizing he was on fire.

Shaffer rolled on the ground to put out the fire and then looked back where he saw Lawrence was also on fire.

The court documents indicate that a tip led the Sheriff’s Office to Shaffer and Lawrence. The tipster told deputies that Shaffer had unexplained burns on this hands and that a second man, Lawrence, was also burned.


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