TWIN FALLS — A Kimberly man charged with first-degree arson for setting fire to another man’s garage changed his plea to guilty before he was set to go to trial Wednesday.
Police said Todd L. Okelberry, 39, set the fire Oct. 17 because he was angry that his wife, from whom he is separated, was spending time with someone else.
The man and Okelberry’s wife, who were inside the man’s house at the time, told police they saw Okelberry in the man’s backyard, pouring gasoline along the foundation of the house before they realized the garage was on fire.
The man said when he went outside, he saw Okelberry running back to his pickup truck carrying a red gasoline can.
Okelberry’s wife told police her husband had previously threatened to burn down a house with her in it if he ever “caught her with someone else,” according to the affidavit. She said Okelberry made the threat after he put a GPS tracker on her car and found out she had been at the other man’s house.
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The change of plea followed a hearing Monday where a judge denied two defense motions in the case.
One of those motions would have prevented Okelberry’s wife from testifying at the trial, based on the concept of spousal privilege.
He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
A plea agreement asks for no more than ten years in prison.
A pre-sentence investigation will take place prior to Okelberry’s sentencing, scheduled for Aug. 27.