Van Buren, Mo., man given probation for threatening to burn down outfitter's home

Friday, August 8, 2008

ST. LOUIS — A Van Buren businessman was placed on probation Wednesday in federal court after he earlier pleaded guilty to threatening to burn another man’s house down.

Christopher Black, 48, was "placed on probation for three years and given six months home confinement," explained Assistant U.S. Attorney Keith Sorrell. "He will be able to work during that time."

U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey did not fine Black, but ordered him to pay a "$100 special assessment," Sorrell said.

Black pleaded guilty in April to one felony count of making an arson threat by telephone.

With his plea, Black admitted on Sept. 1 he and a group of people went to the Current River Outfitters' campground in Van Buren to meet with some friends.

The owner of the campground, who was identified as Mike May in the indictment against Black, declined to allow the group to enter.

Black and the owner reportedly became involved in a verbal altercation at the campground.

Black left the campground, but called the owner by the use of his cellular telephone. The campground owner reportedly answered his cell phone and spoke with Black.

During that telephone call Black stated he was going to burn the campground owner’s house. At the time of his statement, Black reportedly was acting voluntarily and intentionally.

Assisting in the investigation were members of the Van Buren Police Department, the Carter County Sheriff’s Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.

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