DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Kentucky

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, March 17, 2015
John E. Kuhn, Jr.
, United States Attorney
Contact: Stephanie Collins

Warren County, Kentucky, Woman Sentenced to 72 Months for Setting Fire to the Horse Cave, Kentucky, Dollar General Store

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – A Warren County, Kentucky, woman was sentenced to 72 months in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release by Chief District Judge Joseph H. McKinley, Jr., for maliciously damaging and destroying and attempting to damage and destroy, by means of fire, the Dollar General Store, and the personal property, located in Hart County, Kentucky, announced Acting U.S. Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr.

Debra Fowler Kessinger, age 58, of Smiths Grove, Kentucky, was convicted on November 21, 2014, of setting a fire on June 27, 2011, that destroyed the Dollar General Store located at 1015 East Main Street in Horse Cave, Kentucky.  Following the week-long trial, the federal jury in Bowling Green, deliberated for a little over two hours before reaching its unanimous verdict.

“This defendant not only devised a scheme to defraud her employer, but then attempted to torch a commercial building in order to cover her tracks. The Jury’s conviction and today’s sentence is the result of outstanding collaborative work of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the Western Kentucky Arson Task Force,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr.

“Arson is a violent crime that causes millions of dollars in property damage and puts the safety of the general public and fire service personnel at great risk.  Investigating Arson is a top priority of ATF.  Today, a dangerous criminal was removed from this community and imprisoned for several years based on the heroic fire suppression efforts of the Bowling Green Fire Department and the investigative efforts of the Kentucky State Police, the Western Kentucky Arson Task Force and ATF,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Stuart Lowrey.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Joshua Judd and Marisa Ford and was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the Western Kentucky Arson Task Force composed of members from the Bowling Green Fire Department and the Kentucky State Police.
 

Field Division: Louisville Field Division