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Roberts man sentenced to 30 years for school arson

Justin Walter Nelson (St. Croix County Jail photo)

The man who set fire to a Roberts school was sentenced Friday to 30 years total confinement -- 20 years of initial confinement and 10 years of extended supervision. 

Justin Walter Nelson, 26, of Roberts, started a fire at St. Croix Central Elementary School after breaking into the building in the early morning hours of April 30 in an apparent burglary attempt.

St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Eric Lundell handed down the sentence after a 90-minute sentencing hearing.

“We are saddened that a young man will spend a long time in prison due to such a senseless act of violence, but feel that justice has been served for the students, staff and residents of the St. Croix Central School District,” said Roberts Police Chief Daniel Burgess in a press release issued Friday.

Nelson pleaded guilty to an arson charge in early September while charges of burglary, criminal damage to property and possession of THC were dismissed.

The fire displaced the elementary students, teachers and district administrators for the remainder of the 2012-13 school year, which they finished from a nearby Girl Scout camp. 

Micheal Foley
Micheal Foley worked at RiverTown Multimedia from July 2013 to June 2015 as editor at the New Richmond News. 
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