Flames roar through the grandstand at Kin Race Track July 2014. (File photo)

UPDATE: Serial arson suspect enters guilty pleas

William Munton has pleaded guilty to seven charges in relation to a string of fires set in 2014.

UPDATED 10:14 a.m.

William Murray Phelps Munton has pleaded guilty to seven charges in relation to a string of fires set in 2014.

Monday’s brief appearance was originally scheduled to select a jury for the three-week trial. However, signs posted on the courtroom doors informed potential jurors that they were no longer obligated to appear in courtroom 301.

He will appear next Oct. 15 to fix a date for sentencing.

—————

Original 5 a.m.

More than four years after a string of arsons struck the North Okanagan, a Vernon man suspected of igniting the fires will stand trial.

William Murray Phelps Munton, born 1961, will appear in Vernon Supreme Court in front of a judge and jury Monday, Oct. 1. The matter is expected to take three weeks.

Related: Arson suspect heads to court

Related: More charges laid in connection with Vernon arsons

Munton is charged with 19 counts of arson damaging property relating to fires in the area between May and November 2014, including one that burned down the historic grandstand at Kin Race Track.

“The arsons were a significant safety concern for our community,” said RCMP Supt. Jim McNamara in October 2016.

Other properties damaged by fire during that time frame include a pair of boats, two motorhomes, two vehicles, a duplex under construction, a recycling bin, wooden pallets and fruit boxes.

Munton, a former teacher in Salmon Arm, is not in custody.

None of the charges against him have been proven in court.


@VernonNews
parker.crook@vernonmorningstar.com

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