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Man gets prison for veterans memorial arson

A transient who admitted he set fire to a monument at Medford's Veterans Memorial Park two days after Memorial Day said his intention wasn't to dishonor veterans.

Andrew Jonathan Prinslow, 25, was sentenced to 3½ years in prison after pleading guilty to a felony arson charge Wednesday in Jackson County Circuit Court, admitting he doused the park's large monument with gasoline and set it alight the morning of May 31, just six feet from where another transient had been sleeping.

Paul Moser, Prinslow's court-appointed defense lawyer, said his client had suffered "personal losses" over the past year and "was not in a right frame of mind," adding that his client suffers from mental health problems that include difficulty reading and writing.

"I did not mean to dishonor the vets," Prinslow said, adding that he has veterans in his family.

About 7:15 a.m. May 31, witnesses told police they heard Prinslow bragging about having gasoline in a water bottle and yelling "f--- this place" just before lighting the fire, according to court documents and previous reports. The fire singed Prinslow's hair on his arms and beard and burned his coat, according to reports.

Moser told Circuit Court Judge David Hoppe he'd looked into Mental Health Court for Prinslow, who was on parole after recently returning from the Oregon Department of Corrections. His probation officer, however, told Moser she believes Prinslow needs a "highly structured environment," such as prison. Moser said he's hopeful prison will be helpful for his client.

Arson in the first-degree typically carries a sentence of 90 to 110 months in prison, but Hoppe followed the recommendations in Prinslow's negotiated plea agreement calling for 40 months in prison followed by three years of post-prison supervision. Prinslow will not be eligible for early release because of good behavior or for alternative incarceration programs.

— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

Andrew Jonathan Prinslow