The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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August 21, 2010

Shady man pleads to second-degree arson

A Shady Spring man arrested in 2005 for allegedly burning down a house he was hired to build pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree arson, a lesser charge than cited in his indictment.

Kenneth Sizemore Jr. was originally indicted on charges of first-degree arson and conspiracy to commit a felony. He pleaded to the lesser arson charge, and the conspiracy charge was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Kari and Donny Lively had hired Sizemore, their brother-in-law, to build their house on Cranberry Pointe Way, just off Maxwell Hill Road in Beckley.

The house was destroyed by the fire on Nov. 14, 2005. Raleigh County assistant prosecutor Andy Dimlich said there was compelling evidence from video surveillance, witnesses and phone records of Sizemore’s involvement.

However, for first-degree arson to apply, Dimlich said, the house would have to be a dwelling. Although still under construction at the time of the blaze, Dimlich argued the house was clearly intended to be lived in.

Sizemore’s attorney, Kyle Lusk, petitioned the court to dismiss the first-degree charge because the house was not in a condition to be lived in.

Dimlich told Raleigh Circuit Judge H.L. Kirkpatrick in court Friday that when Sizemore was building the house, he realized there was a 15-foot section of the roof that was not lining up. Dimlich added it was not a fixable problem.

Kari Lively of Beckley said she is relieved the 5-year-old case is over.

“I’m relieved it’s finally over,” she said. “I’ve known all this time he was guilty, but it’s drug out over these years. It’s a long time coming and I hope he serves the time he deserves.” 

A pre-sentence investigation will be done and Sizemore will be sentenced Oct. 28.

Sizemore faces a one- to 10-year sentence, but Dimlich said Friday a four-year cap would be applied.

— E-mail: alannom@register-herald.com

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