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Roberts man pleads guilty in school arson

Justin Walter Nelson

The man who set fire to a Roberts school pleaded guilty to a charge of arson Friday in St. Croix County Circuit Court, and seven other charges against him were dropped, according to court records.

Justin Walter Nelson, 25, 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. After pleading guilty to the arson charge, charges of burglary, criminal damage to property and possession of THC were dismissed. Four charges against Nelson from an April 18 incident were also dropped but will be used as read-ins in sentencing.

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.

The new school year began on Tuesday, Sept. 3, and construction work still needs to be completed on the school’s main office area and library.

Nelson is next scheduled to appear on Oct. 18 for a status conference.

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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