“We spend more time investigating cases then the offenders spend in jail.” Newport Police Chief Jim Burroughs said expressing frustration with the 100-day sentence for Corey Hale. Hale was in Sullivan County Superior Court on Thursday for a plea hearing on arson charges for the fires in downtown Newport in the early morning hours of May 31, 2014. Hale was arrested in December for the fire at 11 Central Street and later he admitted to setting the 6 Laurel St., 82 Maple St. and 24 Sullivan St. fires.
In the plea agreement, County Attorney Mark Hathaway asked for a three year prison term, which Hale agreed to serve. Judge Brian Tucker however reduced Hale’s sentence to 100 days in the Sullivan County Correctional Facility and for Hale to complete the Trails program. Burroughs said Hale is supposed to not be using drugs any longer and has changed his life around.
Chief Burroughs said he was upset when he first learned about the sentence but wanted to sleep on it before saying anything. “Investigating an arson is like finding a needle in a haystack, and we found the needle. The fires had the people scared, we were getting calls all the time.” Burroughs said other area police chiefs are also upset with the sentence.