Accused fire-setter will undergo competency evaluation

Jake Payne appears at preliminary hearing

Staff report
Posted 11/19/17

A district court judge ordered a competency evaluation Nov. 16 for Jake Payne, 22, who was charged with setting several fires along the Cherry Creek trail in Parker last spring, and scheduled a Jan. …

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Accused fire-setter will undergo competency evaluation

Jake Payne appears at preliminary hearing

Posted

A district court judge ordered a competency evaluation Nov. 16 for Jake Payne, 22, who was charged with setting several fires along the Cherry Creek trail in Parker last spring, and scheduled a Jan. 4 hearing.

Payne appeared Nov. 16 in Douglas County district court for a preliminary hearing. His defense counsel raised questions about his mental health and whether he was competent to stand trial.

Payne is accused of starting several fires along the Cherry Creek trail April 12 and 13. More than 15 acres of land was scorched, and officials closed nearby roads and trails. The April 13 fire, the larger of the two, forced Global Village Academy to go on lockout status. Fire officials utilized the parking lot of the school as a command center. A helicopter was used to prevent the fire from spreading to the nearby Challenger Park neighborhood.

Investigators say DNA found on a lighter and matches at the scene helped lead them to Payne. Initial charges included two counts of intentionally setting a fire, both Class 3 felonies punishable by four to 12 years in prison.

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