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Riggins woman sentenced for arson

A Riggins woman was sentenced on an amended felony arson charge last month stemming from a November 2013 incident at a North Salmon Drive residence.

As part of her sentence for third-degree arson, Athenna D.C. Cunningham-Buck, 19, was ordered to serve 120 days in jail, pay $250 in court costs, and serve 100 hours of community service. An amount for restitution was pending. Of this, Cunningham-Buck was credited for 60 days of jail already served; and of the remainder, 30 days will be served in increments of 48 hours, and 30 is at the discretion of Idaho Probation and Parole.

District Judge Michael Griffin withheld judgment in the matter for three years, during which Cunningham-Buck will be on supervised probation. If she completes the terms of her probation to the satisfaction of the court, the charge will be dismissed.

Cunningham-Buck was originally charged with first-degree arson following a Nov. 1, 2013, incident in which she intentionally set fires in the Kurt Pullen residence as he and his 4-year-old niece slept.

According to the investigation, Pullen reported seeing Cunningham-Buck in his bedroom that morning, around 1 a.m., attempting to remove a metal sculpture off his wall; Pullen told her to leave. Approximately 30 minutes later, Pullen awoke to his smoke detectors going off, opened his bedroom door and discovered the house was full of smoke. He found fires on his stove top and in his microwave, which he extinguished with a retractable water faucet.

Investigators found the remains of a disposable lighter on the stove, on which the burner had been placed on high; and the remains of a burning paper notebook in the microwave, which was set on maximum time. Additional fire char and scorch marks were also found at the bottom of the range and at the bottom of a wooden closet door.

The Idaho County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case, which was handled by Idaho County Prosecutor Kirk MacGregor. Defense attorney Benjamin Onosko represented Cunningham-Buck.

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