Man arrested for reckless burning faces new charge

Posted 7/19/22

The Port Townsend man arrested in March for allegedly setting his RV on fire as it was parked in the homeless shelter on Mill Road is facing a new charge of second-degree malicious …

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Man arrested for reckless burning faces new charge

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The Port Townsend man arrested in March for allegedly setting his RV on fire as it was parked in the homeless shelter on Mill Road is facing a new charge of second-degree malicious mischief.

Damien Arion Hodges, 30, was arrested on an outstanding warrant July 1 that was based on his prior charge of reckless burning.

While in custody, Hodges was questioned by Port Townsend police about a report of malicious mischief from the early morning hours of June 7 at the office of Washington State Department of Social and Health Services on Evans Vista.

An officer responding to the building found someone had taken large rocks from landscaping beds in the parking lot and threw them at a state-owned vehicle. Police said the vehicle, which had multiple dents from the rocks and a broken windshield, sustained well more than $1,000 in damages.

Officers heard noise coming from the wooded area nearby and found several people who were camping and gathering firewood, according to an incident report prepared by Port Townsend police. One of the campers identified Hodges as the person who had damaged the vehicle.

During questioning following his July 1 arrest, Hodges allegedly admitted throwing rocks and damaging the car.

He said he was “going through some things,” according to the incident report, and also allegedly told the officer he wasn’t angry with anyone who worked in the agency’s office and added they were all very nice.

Hodges entered a pleading of not guilty to second-degree malicious mischief during an appearance in Jefferson County Superior Court on July 8.

His trial was set to start Aug. 29. He remains held in Jefferson County Jail on $20,000 bail.

Hodges had earlier been facing a charge of first-degree reckless burning in Superior Court for the RV incident, but that case was dismissed June 14 after the charge was amended to second-degree reckless burning and filed in Jefferson County District Court.

Hodges was scheduled to appear in District Court on the reckless burning charge this week.

That case stems from an incident from Friday,
March 11, when a resident at the homeless camp on Mill Road told police that Hodges set his RV on fire and then left.

A shelter resident told police he had seen Hodges leaving the camp, and added that Hodges had told him he had tried to set his RV on fire.

Two residents of the camp then went to check on the RV, and smoke started pouring out of the RV when they opened the door.

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