ALREADY CHARGED WITH FOUR ARSONS, CHILD PORN
VERNON - Two years after a rash of arsons rocked the community, charges have been laid against a North Okanagan man accused of setting 19 of them, including a devastating blaze that burned the Kin Race Track grandstands to the ground.
This week, an additional 15 charges were approved against William Murray Phelps Munton, 55, of Vernon, Crown spokesperson Dan McLaughlin confirmed Wednesday. Munton was initially arrested and charged with four arsons this past summer following a lengthy police investigation.
The new charges include a number of high profile fires from the summer of 2014, including the July 9 blaze at Kin Race Track, according to court documents. Kin Race Track is a long-standing horse-racing facility, although it has not been operational in recent years due to an ongoing legal dispute with the municipality.
Munton is also accused of setting fire to fruit boxes on July 21. Roughly 1,200 to 1,500 B.C. Tree Fruit boxes were destroyed that day at an estimated value of $100,000.
The 19 individual arsons are alleged to have occurred regularly — at times on a weekly basis — between May 3, 2014 and Nov. 20, 2014. They include fires to vacant buildings, dumpsters, boats, vehicles, motorhomes, abandoned sheds, and railway ties.
Munton contributed photos to local media in the past, including pictures of fires.
Munton was also charged with making or publishing child pornography. One of the counts is in relation to an August 2011 offence, while two other charges, including making or publishing child pornography and possession of child pornography, are from alleged offences in June and August of 2015.
The Salmon Arm Observer reported that Munton was a high school teacher in Salmon Arm but has not worked for the district since 2005.
None of the allegations against Munton have been proven in court. He returns to court Oct. 27. He is not in custody.
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