Homeless man pleads no contest to arson, faces prison time.

January 13, 2015
George Winters with his attorney Al Swanson Jr.

George Winters with his attorney Al Swanson Jr.

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — A Ludington man accepted a sentencing agreement today in 51st Circuit Court for a charge of arson and will likely face prison time for the offense. George William Winters, 60, a homeless man, was arrested Aug. 2 and charged with two felony counts of second degree arson (punishable by up to 20 years in prison), a misdemeanor of arson of person property of more than $200 and less than $1,000 and also habitual offender fourth offense, which doubles prison time.

On Aug. 2 Winters set two camp tents on fire on private property on South Jebavy Drive. The property contained several tents. According to Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole, the incident occurred after an argument between Winters and the owners of the tents. The area was known to be a campsite for homeless people.

Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola offered Winters a sentencing agreement dismissing one of the arson counts and the misdemeanor. He also dropped the habitual offender fourth offense to third offense.

Winters has previous convictions from 1976 of burglary or forced entry in Mason County, 1977 of unlawfully driving away a vehicle in Ottawa County, 1986 criminal sexual conduct in Mason County and 2011 arson of real property in Mason County.

He faces 8 to 40 years in prison. He will be sentenced on Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 3:30 p.m.

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