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Couple takes deal on arson charges

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By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

More than 19 months of investigation and speculation drew to a close on Thursday when a husband and wife chose to plead guilty to charges related to a series of fires in December 2008 and January 2009.

According to information released by Caldwell County District Attorney Trey Hicks on Friday afternoon, Jason Doyle, 38,

and Kelly Doyle, 27, both plead guilty to two counts of Arson and no lo contender (No Contest) to a third count of Arson in connection with two fires in their Lockhart residence and a third at a family-owned residence south of the city limits.

The agreement, Hicks said, includes a “cap” deal which could result in up to 12 years behind bars for each of the Doyles.

Under Texas law, the charges must run concurrently. In this case, the Arson charges are second degree felonies; a second degree felony is punishable by 2 – 20 years imprisonment and a fine, if any, not to exceed $10,000 per offense. In exchange for pleading to the three Arson charges, the State agreed to dismiss two charges of Endangering a Child, a State Jail felony.

The Doyles were indicted in December 2009.

The first fire, on Dec. 30, 2008, occurred in the Doyles’ Lockhart home, and was contained in the garage area. The second fire, two days later on Jan. 1, 2009, occurred at the same residence, this time in a bedroom. Although that fire, too, was contained, it did result in smoke damage throughout the residence. A Travis County firefighter was injured on the scene during the final stages of fire suppression, known as “mop up.”

On Jan. 6, 2009, the third and most destructive fire broke out at a residence formerly owned by J. Doyle’s grandmother, where the couple was allegedly staying after the fires at their residence. That fire resulted in the complete destruction of the home.

The pair pled guilty to the charges stemming from the fires in the Lockhart residence, and no contest to the fire at the home on FM 671.

At the time the indictments were issued by the Caldwell County Grand Jury, J. Doyle was employed as a firefighter in Victoria, Texas. He has also previously been involved in volunteer firefighting activities in Lockhart and elsewhere in Caldwell County.

The Doyles are scheduled for a court date before 207th Judicial District Judge Jack Robison to determine sentencing on Oct. 14, 2010. At that time, their attorneys may ask the judge for a reduced sentence, but Hicks suggested his office intends to argue for the full 12-year prison term spelled out in the plea agreement.

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