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Press Release

Plymouth Man Sentenced to Ten Years in Federal Prison for Arson of Apartment Building

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Wisconsin

United States Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad of the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced that on May 10, 2023, Jonathan T. Lane (age: 32) of Plymouth, Wisconsin, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for arson to a building.

According to court filings, Lane admitted that on November 9, 2017, he started a fire in a small, two-story apartment building in Plymouth, Wisconsin. A mother of three children died in that fire, and a firefighter was injured attempting to extinguish the fire. The apartment building was destroyed by the fire and neighboring apartment buildings sustained fire related damage. Arson investigators ultimately determined that the fire was intentionally set and that Lane, who lived in one of the apartments, was the last individual around the fire origin minutes before the discovery of the smoke and fire.

At sentencing, United States District Judge Lynn Adelman noted the serious nature of the offense, the need for just punishment, and the need for protection of the public. Following his release from prison, Lane will spend three years on supervised release.  He will also be ordered to pay restitution in an amount yet to be determined, but which could exceed $400,000.

“The arson of an occupied building endangers the safety of others and can easily result in the injury or death of an innocent occupant or firefighter,” said United States Attorney Haanstad. “The sentence in this case, which was the direct result of hard work by federal, state, and local law enforcement and their fellow first responders, makes clear that those responsible for such acts will receive substantial prison terms.”

“This tragic case is an example of how ATF and fire science technology, combined with our investigative skills and partnership with local law enforcement will solve arsons,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Christopher Amon of the Chicago Field Division. “We appreciate the commitment of the United States Attorney’s Office in dedicating their prosecutorial expertise to this important case.”

“Arson is an extremely dangerous crime that can lead to tragedy, as it did in this terrible case,” said Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul. “Thank you to Wisconsin Department of Justice’s State Fire Marshal’s Office, whose agents are highly skilled in arson investigations and work with local, state, and federal agencies to obtain justice.”

The investigation was led by the following law enforcement groups:  Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and Plymouth Police Department. Numerous fire and rescue departments from the surrounding areas responded to assist putting out the fire.


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Updated May 11, 2023