June 15, 1996 in Washington Voices

Jury Convicts Father Of Two Of Setting Trailer Fire For Profit

By The Spokesman-Review

A man convicted of arson was sentenced to two years in prison Wednesday for torching the Spokane Valley trailer he shared with his two daughters in an arson-for-profit scheme.

David W. Janson, 42, who was convicted of first-degree arson by a Superior Court jury in April, may also be forced to pay restitution to the owner of the trailer he burned, her insurance company and a neighbor.

A hearing has been set for July 1 to determine how much money - if any - Janson will pay.

Janson was convicted of burning the trailer he rented in University Mobile Home Park, 9518 E. Fourth, to its metal frame on April 4, 1995.

Neither Janson, nor his daughters were hurt.

Prosecutors said Janson spread gasoline around the trailer in space No. 38-1/2 and lit the fire. Janson then planned to set up a charitable fund for his family and use the local news media to publicize it, they said.

Janson claimed masked men broke into his trailer and started the fire.

The woman Janson rented the trailer from collected $9,000 from her insurance company. Heat and smoke from the blaze also caused $900 worth of damage to a neighbor’s trailer.

Fire investigators also linked Janson to four other fires - including two in the Valley - they believe he has set during the past 12 years. Both of the suspicious fires also burned trailers Janson rented at the University Mobile Home Park, fire investigators said.

Janson was not charged with a crime for any of those fires, but prosecutors were allowed to use them as evidence against him.

, DataTimes

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