The Denver District Attorney’s husband will spend 10 days in jail for arson after burning piles of debris on his Grand County property during a burning ban and leaving them unattended.
Christopher Linsmayer, the husband of Denver District Attorney Beth McCann, will attend Grand County Jail on November 1 to serve his 10-day sentence. He will also serve two years of supervised probation and could face jail time if he violates his probation terms.
“I want to tell the people of this community that you cannot light a fire during a fire ban, it is far too dangerous,” Grand County District Court Judge Mary Hoak said during the Linsmayer’s sentencing hearing Thursday.
Linsmayer pleaded guilty in July to attempted arson and the misdemeanor of arson with deferred sentences, meaning the case will be dismissed and he will have no convictions on his record if he ends with successful probation. He was originally charged with 12 counts of fourth degree arson in the October 2020 incident, in which no one was injured and no property was damaged.
Linsmayer is also prohibited from lighting fires on his property outside Kremmling except in a grill when someone else is present as long as he owns the property.
Deputies from the Grand County Sheriff’s Office discovered the burning slash piles on the property on October 27 after someone called to report a possible fire. Linsmayer’s attorney, Jack DiCola, said during the sentencing hearing that Linsmayer started the fires on the evening of October 25 with a foot of snow on the ground. Linsmayer checked for the fires the next day and left the property because he thought they were out, DiCola said. The batteries were reignited, however, and firefighters intervened to extinguish the flames.
Linsmayer lit the slash piles during a fire ban and in the aftermath of the East Troublesome fire, which struck Grand County between Oct. 14-26, burned 193,812 acres and forced evacuation of more of 35,000 people.
Five neighbors spoke at the sentencing hearing, saying they feared Linsmayer would continue to irresponsibly burn debris on his property and that one day it would cause serious damage. Linsmayer has previously faced fines and criminal charges for similar allegations, including suspicion of unintentionally starting a 10-acre wildfire near Kremmling in 2016.
Neighbors during the sentencing said Linsmayer had repeatedly started irresponsible fires on his property.
“Jail is what it’s going to take to get this man’s attention,” neighbor Skip Meier said. “He just doesn’t understand.”
Linsmayer apologized for his actions during the hearing and said he would never burn on his property again. He said he burned the slash piles in an attempt to remove flammable debris from the property and mitigate the risk of forest fires.
“I am so sorry and remorseful for what I did that day, but I can assure you that there was never any intention to cause damage or stress to my neighbors or to the Grand County community, ”he said. “I will never start another fire on my property. “
McCann attended the virtual hearing on Thursday but did not speak. She previously said in a statement that she regretted the incident and thanked the Kremmling firefighters who extinguished the slash piles.