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Suspect arrested in connection with Cherry Creek Trail fires

Parker man charged with intentionally setting wildfires

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The Parker Police Department has announced the arrest of resident Jake Payne, 22, in connection with the April 12 and 13 fires along the Cherry Creek Trail in Parker. The fires forced multiple road and trail closures and scorched a total of more than 15 acres.

The larger of the two fires was on April 13, forced Global Village Academy to go on lockout so its parking lot could be used as a command center and required the use of a helicopter to keep the blaze from spreading to nearby homes in the Challenger Park neighborhood.

Payne faces two counts of intentionally setting a wildfire. Both charges are Class 3 felonies with a presumptive sentencing range of four to 12 years, the Parker Police Department said in a news release. His bond was set at $5,000 at a Sept. 5 court appearance.

Police credited South Metro Fire Rescue's investigators, the Aurora Police Department crime lab and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation's crime lab for providing “critical assistance” in the investigation.

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