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Convicted arsonist Frederick Maw sentenced to prison - KBZK.com | Continuous News | Bozeman, Montana

Convicted arsonist Frederick Maw sentenced to prison

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Frederick Maw, a convicted arsonist, was sentenced in Helena on Friday to 20 years in the Montana State Prison. Frederick Maw, a convicted arsonist, was sentenced in Helena on Friday to 20 years in the Montana State Prison.
HELENA -

Frederick Maw V, a convicted arsonist, was sentenced in Helena on Friday to 20 years in the Montana State Prison.

The sentence was handed down by District Judge Mike Menahan.

Maw, sentenced for setting a series of arson fires in 2013 in Lewis & Clark County and Broadwater County, was charged again in April of 2016 for setting another arson fire in a slash pile at the Triple 8 Ranch, where he was working as a laborer.

At the time, Maw called 911 to report the fire, and claimed it was an accident.

An investigation showed that the evidence at the fire did not match Maw's version of events, when he said he used fire extinguishers to stop the blaze.

In May 2017 Maw pleaded no contest to the new charge.

In court on Friday, Probation & Parole Officer Deana Lougee told Lewis & Clark County Attorney Leo Gallagher her office agreed with his recommendation for a 20-year prison sentence.

Lougee and Gallagher reviewed Maw's case, including his struggles with mental illness outlined in a pre-sentence investigation report filed prior to sentencing.

Maw has undergone numerous mental health evaluations over the past few years, and he has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.

According to the report, while Maw doesn't specifically remember setting the fires in 2013, he does remember what he was wearing those days and what items were in his vehicle at the time.

One mental health expert said Maw has a “selective memory”.

As for the 2016 incident, Lougee said Maw remembers that fire, and claims it was an accident.

“Is it difficult to supervise someone who believes he didn't do anything wrong?” said County Attorney Gallagher.

“He absolutely can't be supervised,” said Lougee.

Maw's defense attorney called his mother to the witness stand.

Caterina Maw told the court her son had suffered from mental health issues for five years prior to the 2013 fires.

She told the court her son, while incarcerated, had not been properly given his medications.

Maw said when that happens, her son is not able to defend himself and he's already been the victim of assaults in jail. She believes her son will likely be further victimized in prison.

Maw's mother told the court her son has suffered from prior abuse from a former fiance who once stabbed her son in the arm.

She also told the court that if her son is returned to the community, he can be placed in an AWARE home.

Defense Attorney Teal Mittlestadt argued in favor of a suspended sentence for her client, saying he'd benefit from being in the community. She also cited his youth and his trouble with his mental illness.

Before pronouncing his sentence, Judge Menahan said he'd reviewed all the reports in the case file, including Judge Kathy Seeley's sentencing memorandum from 2015.

Judge Menahan noted the pre-sentence investigation found that Maw asked his probation officer for permission to light fires when he got his job at the Triple 8 Ranch. Both his probation officer and his supervisor at the ranch specifically told him to only cut slash and not light any fires.

The judge said Maw presents an extremely high risk to the community and that a suspended sentence is not appropriate given Maw's extreme risk to re-offend.

The judge then handed down the 20 year prison sentence.

This isn't the end of Maw's legal troubles. He now faces a petition to revoke his suspended sentence from the 2013 fires.

In that case, County Attorney Gallagher is recommending to Judge Seeley that Maw receive a 40 year prison sentence with 20 years suspended.

It will be up to Judge Seeley whether or not Friday's sentence will be served consecutively or concurrently with the recommended 2013 sentence.

If served consecutively, Maw faces 60 years in prison, with 20 suspended.

In November 2, 2015, when she gave Maw a suspended sentence, Judge Seeley told Maw, “If you violate the terms of this sentence and you come back here, you will go to prison.”

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