news from the Prosecutor's Office

Cincinnati man was sentenced 16 years in prison on arson and burglary
October 31, 2007

Press Release For Immediate Release October 31, 2007

(HAMILTON, OH) A Cincinnati man was sentenced 16 years in prison on arson and burglary charges today by Judge Noah Powers II of the Butler County Common Pleas Court.

Following a jury trial in September, Kenneth Rutherford, Jr., 21, was found guilty of aggravated arson and burglary for the May 14, 2006 early morning break-in and fire at the Oaks at Woodridge Apartments in Fairfield.

According to testimony at trial, Rutherford and two juveniles went to an apartment on Bent Tree Drive to buy drugs or steal drugs and money. When they found the resident gone, Rutherford forced entry into the apartment. After finding drugs, Rutherford set fire to the apartment using an aerosol can and a lighter. Alerted by the sounds of the break-in and smoke from the fire, residents of the apartment complex went door to door to wake their neighbors. One resident, trapped by the fire, escaped with her four year old daughter by dropping her daughter over the balcony to neighbors below, and then jumping to safety herself. No one was injured in the blaze.

Multiple units of the Fairfield Fire Department responded and were able to contain the fire, restricting the damage to the unit set on fire and hallway. The case was investigated by Detective Sandy Sears of the Fairfield Police Department and Deputy Chief Dennis Glenn of the Fairfield Fire Department.

Prosecutor Robin Piper expressed his appreciation for the efforts of Detective Sears and Deputy Chief Glenn. "It took months of good solid police work and fire investigation to put this case together,” Piper stated. “We couldn't have done it without Detective Sears’ perseverance and Deputy Chief Glenn's investigation as to the cause and origin of the fire.”

In sentencing Rutherford, Judge Powers emphasized the dangers inherent in breaking into someone's home, especially at night, as well as the damage caused by the fire and the tremendous risk to the apartment occupants. Judge Powers further ordered Rutherford to pay restitution for $135,000 in damages.

Prosecutor Piper concluded by saying, “Sixteen years in prison - I’d say Rutherford got burnt by his own fire.”

Rutherford is currently awaiting trial in Cincinnati on charges of armed robbery.

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For more information contact the Prosecutor's Office at (513) 887-3474
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