Release with conditions for Riser after third hearing in Flagstaff | Local
The US District Court for the District of Arizona held its third hearing Tuesday for Matthew Riser, the man charged with allegedly lighting a fire on the Coconino National Forest last weekend near where the Pipeline Fire started.
The United States dismissed the charges against Riser for possessing marijuana, without prejudice, which means they still have the potential to be refiled at some point.
This leaves Riser with two charges: lighting a fire during restrictions and residing on the national forest, both Class B misdemeanors. The possession charge had been a Class A misdemeanor.
Riser has also been released with conditions as a result of this hearing, pending acceptance to a working alternative program for housing. This would be similar to a home detention. Conditions include electronic monitoring, a ban from the national forests (including the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests) and a requirement to stay within Flagstaff city limits.
These conditions, judge Camille Bibles said, help address earlier concerns of flight risk and Riser’s lack of a stable residence that had kept him in detention following his last hearing.
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Sentences resulting from a failure to appear or crimes committed during release would run after any sentences for the original charges. Violating the conditions or being discharged from the working alternative would also mean a return to custody.
“Your honor, I’ve never been put in a box like that in my life,” Riser said, referring to detention, when asked if he was able to meet the conditions. “I don’t want to be put in a box. …I’ve lived free in the woods of Alaska, [Arizona] andLouisiana. It’s the worst experience of my life — I will do anything to make sure it never happens again.”
Riser’s next status hearing will take place Wednesday, July 6.
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