0706ODAassistarrestarsonist.cfm 0706ODAassistarrestarsonist.cfm ODAFF investigators assist in arrest of arsonist in Stephens County
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ODAFF investigators assist in arrest of arsonist in Stephens County

Oklahoma

Oklahoma agriculture special agents and the Stephens County Sheriff's Department July 1 arrested a volunteer firefighter charged with 15 counts of third degree arson. Some of the fires were set as long ago as the summer of 2006.

James Edgar Morgan Jr., 47, is being held with a $75,000 bond. Col. Mike Grimes, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry Director of Investigative Services, said Morgan has confessed to his agents of setting many additional fires.

"The suspect has confessed to Special Agents Patrick Blake and Michael Hooper of setting between 40 and 50 fires," he said. "Our investigators were asked to assist on this case in January and we've been working closely with the Stephens County Sheriff's Department to make this arrest."

Arson cases are among the most difficult crimes law enforcement agencies deal with, Grimes said. The cooperative efforts and assistance between ODAFF investigators and the sheriff's department were very good and helped seal the arrest.

"Unless you have a witness, arsons are very difficult to solve," he said. "Our investigators have a lot of experience and training in investigating arson, and working closely with the sheriff's department, that certainly helped in this case."

If convicted, Morgan could receive up to 15 years in prison on each count and fines of up to $10,000 for each count.



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