Husband of Denver district attorney sentenced to 10 days in jail on arson charges

The Denver district attorney’s husband will spend 10 days in jail on arson charges after burning slash piles on his Grand County property during a burn ban and leaving them unattended.

Christopher Linsmayer, the husband of Denver District Attorney Beth McCann, will turn himself in to the Grand County jail on Nov. 1 to serve his 10-day sentence. He will also serve two years of supervised probation and could face prison time if he violates his probation terms.

“I wish to tell people of this communtiy you cannot set fires during a fire ban, it is far too dangerous,” Grand County District Court Judge Mary Hoak said during Linsmayer’s sentencing hearing Thursday.

Linsmayer in July pleaded guilty pleaded to felony attempted arson and misdemeanor attempted arson with deferred sentences, which means the case will be dismissed and he will not have convictions on his record if he successfully completes his probation. He was originally charged with 12 counts of fourth-degree arson in the October 2020 incident, during which nobody was injured and no property was damaged.

Linsmayer is also banned from lighting any fires on his property outside Kremmling except for in a grill when someone else is present for as long as he owns the property.

Deputies with the Grand County Sheriff’s Office discovered the burning slash piles on the property on Oct. 27 after someone called to report a possible fire. Linsmayer’s attorney, Jack DiCola, said during the sentencing hearing that Linsmayer set the fires on the evening of Oct. 25 when there was a foot of snow on the ground. Linsmayer checked the fires the following day and left the property because he believed they were extinguished, DiCola said. The piles reignited, however, and firefighters responded to extinguish the flames.

Linsmayer lit the slash piles during a fire ban and in the immediate aftermath of the East Troublesome fire, which whipped through Grand County between Oct. 14 and 26, burned 193,812 acres and forced the evacuation of more than 35,000 people.

Five neighbors spoke during the sentencing hearing stating they feared Linsmayer would continue to irresponsibly burn debris on his property and that someday it would cause serious damage. Linsmayer previously has faced fines and criminal charges for similar allegations, including suspicions he unintentionally started a 10-acre wildfire near Kremmling in 2016.

Neighbors during the sentencing said Linsmayer repeatedly lit irresponsible fires on his property.

“Jail time is what it’s going to take to get this man’s attention,” neighbor Skip Meier said. “He just doesn’t get it.”

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 with the goal of eliminating flammable debris from the property and mitigating wildfire risk.

“I’m so sorry and remorseful for what I did that day but I can assure you there was never any intent to cause damage or stress to my neighbors or the Grand County community,” he said. “I will never start another fire on my property.”

McCann attended the virtual hearing Thursday but did not speak. She previously said in a statement that she regretted the incident and thanked the Kremmling firefighters who put out the slash piles.

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