Updated: 04/10/2014 10:47 PM
Created: 04/10/2014 4:17 PM WDIO.com
By: Laurie Stribling
The former Fire Chief of Babbitt will spend the next five years in prison. Ryan Scharber was sentenced Thursday in Federal Court after he admitted to setting several fires.
Five years in prison is the mandatory minimum for these types of crimes in Federal Court. Scharber's Defense Attorney Joe Tamburino said if Scharber was in State Court he would only be sentenced to two years.
"In this case, Mr. Scharber didn't do anything to hurt anyone," Tamburino said. "He burned some fires less than three acres and he attempted at one point to burn a small structure, but he didn't and there was no one in the structure."
During the sentencing, Tamburino argued for a lesser sentence and said Scharber didn't commit the crimes with malice.
"People have problems and sometimes they do stupid, ill-considered acts, but they're still good people," Tamburino said.
U.S. Assistant Attorney Andrew Dunne agreed that Scharber is not a bad person.
"He's a good man," Dunne said. "He's a decent man, but he made some awfully bad choices."
Dunne said as fire chief, Scharber should be held to a higher standard. He also said he betrayed the community's trust.
Dunne also said between 2010 and 2012 there were 39 suspicious fires in the Babbitt area. He said since this news broke, there has been zero.
Scharber also spoke during the sentencing.
"I'm in no way a pyromaniac," Scharber said.
Scharber said mental health issues could be to blame for his actions. He also said he spent the last two years trying to make things right with the community.
Scharber's sentence includes paying $27,819 in restitution, 100 hours of community service and not working on fire departments while on supervised release.
Scharber was ordered to turn himself in on June 2. His attorney has said they plan to appeal.
Thousands Flock for Two Harbors Beargrease Marathon Start
About 45 teams of mushers and dogs took off on the John Beargrease Marathon trail in Two Harbors Sunday afternoon to cheers from thousands of spectators, despite a departure from the traditional race start at Duluth East High School...
Wisconsin Lawmaker Hopes to End 'Vaping' Indoors
Lawmakers are set to reignite conversations this week about whether vaping - using electronic cigarettes and other vapor smoking devices - should be included in Wisconsin's smoking ban. The ban took effect in 2010. It outlaws smoking in all public indoor locations, including restaurants and bars.
Campground Fees Rise this Year at Michigan State Parks
Fees at state-operated campgrounds in Michigan are going up this year to cover higher costs and pay for maintenance projects. Parks and recreation chief Ron Olson of the Department of Natural Resources says the amount of the increase at a particular site depends on its popularity.
Minnesota Guard Not Going to Liberia After All
Members of the Minnesota National Guard have learned they won't be going to Liberia to help the U.S. military's response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Soldiers from the Rosemount-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division were supposed to go to Liberia this year in support of Operation United Assistance.
One Man Dead After Car Accident in Aitkin County
A 47-year-old man died after his vehicle was broadsided in east-central Minnesota on Saturday night. The incident happened at the intersection of Highway 18 and Highway 65 in Aitkin County at 9:35 p.m.