CF man draws prison time for arson
CRYSTAL FALLS — A Crystal Falls man will serve 25 months to 20 years in prison for helping his girlfriend set fire to and destroy a cabin on Fortune Lake in Crystal Falls Township last fall.
Troy Daniel Evert Jr., 22, will get credit for 188 days already served in the Iron County Jail and will be responsible with his co-defendant, 26-year-old Rachael Joy Kirschner of Crystal Falls, for paying $65,150 in restitution for the destroyed structure.
“I don’t want this community to believe that you can go burn down somebody’s house and not go to prison,” Judge C. Joseph Schwedler said Monday during the sentencing hearing in Iron County Trial Court.
Evert previously pleaded no contest to felony second degree arson as part of a plea deal with prosecution.
Kirschner admitted to a Niagara, Wis., man she and Evert on Oct. 7 had run into one of her ex-boyfriends, who called her a “whore,” according to court records.
Kirschner and Evert later that evening went out to the ex-boyfriend’s vacant cabin, where Evert poured gasoline around the interior and Kirschner tossed a firecracker on it, records state.
The ex-boyfriend didn’t even own the cabin, Iron County Prosecutor Melissa Powell pointed out, noting it belonged to his aunt, who was devastated at the loss of a home that contained so much of her family’s history and memorabilia.
“I couldn’t imagine that somebody would take a slur against their girlfriend and use that to commit arson,” Powell said.
Defense attorney Michael Scholke focused on Evert’s positive attributes, noting he has no previous criminal record, a high school education, consistent employment and a new baby who was born while he was in jail.
“Unfortunately, this one very poor decision fueled by alcohol and fueled by bravado has landed him here in some very serious trouble,” Scholke said.
Evert readily apologized when given a chance to address the court.
“I don’t know what I was thinking on that night,” he said. “Words can’t explain how sorry I am.”
Even though Evert’s arson case in Iron County has concluded, he still faces a related but more serious case in Wisconsin’s Marinette County.
Evert and 32-year-old Scott Lee Reed of Crystal Falls each are charged with conspiracy to commit first degree intentional homicide for reportedly plotting to kill the Niagara man Kirschner confided in about the arson.
The Niagara man reportedly threatened to inform police about the arson after Kirschner told him about it, according to court records.
Evert reportedly told a friend in Illinois he wanted the Niagara man dead, and Kirschner reportedly told Reed he would have to hurt the Niagara man if the Illinois man was unwilling to do it, court records state.
Reed reportedly went to the Niagara man’s home Dec. 17 and told him to “stop messing with” Kirschner before stabbing him in the right forearm with a 3-inch knife, according to the records.
Powell and Scholke said it was their understanding Evert would go to prison first and then deal with the Marinette County case.
Reed will next appear in Marinette County Court on Sept. 7 for a status conference. Kirschner will be sentenced next week in Iron County for her part in the arson.
Nikki Younk can be reached at 906-774-2772, ext. 41, or firstname.lastname@example.org.