An Eastern Idaho man with a penchant for frightening public spectacles will serve two to five years in prison for burning down three empty farm buildings. According to a report in the Idaho State Journal, Raymond Montgomery, 55, was already on federal probation for operating an airplane without proper certification.
In that 2001 incident, Montgomery reportedly stole a single-engine 1959 Champion from the Preston airport and proceeded to buzz nearby civilians, fly the plane through power lines and drop a phony pipe bomb on nearby Interstate 15. Although he soon decided to end his joyride at the same airport, Montgomery took off again when he saw authorities waiting for him. He eventually landed at a private airstrip in Box Elder County, Utah, and was apprehended and sentenced to five years probation.
This time around, Montgomery allegedly lit up an unoccupied house, barn, and farm shed worth approximately $58,000 in the wee small hours of April 13. Nobody was hurt in the blaze, but the Downey fire crew fought the blaze for several hours after being notified by a passing motorist.
Montgomery's public defender called the sentence "the best I could hope for," given his client's mental health problems. "The federal authorities have better facilities and I'm hoping they will address those issues that landed him in court in the first place," he said.