Inmate gets 20 years for starting jail fire

Posted at 7:36 AM, Mar 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-31 09:37:03-04

An inmate who set fire to the Saguache County jail in southern Colorado has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The Pueblo Chieftain reports 42-year-old Dick Lopez was sentenced Tuesday for the May 27 fire that sent two inmates to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation and cost the county $100,000 for repairs and to house inmates in other jails. Lopez was convicted in February of arson, criminal mischief and inciting a riot in a detention facility.

Investigators say he started the fire because he felt disrespected and singled out by jail staff, who had removed a poster from his cell.

Jimmy Gollihugh, a former inmate, struck a deal with prosecutors Tuesday for a lesser role in the fire and pleaded guilty to felony mischief. A third suspect has yet to enter a plea.