Tahlequah Daily Press

May 23, 2013

Officials urge denial of sentence modification for arsonist

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — State officials have recommended a former wildlands firefighter convicted of arson be denied a sentence modification.

Mike Adam Malenski, 40, was charged in 2011 with more than 100 counts of third-degree arson and fourth-degree arson, along with endangering or causing personal injury to human life during commission of a felony.

Malenski took a plea agreement with prosecutors in June 2012, pleading guilty to two of the charges in exchange for 10 years in state prison followed by five years suspended. He was also ordered to pay restitution of more than $37,000; to undergo a mental health evaluation upon his release; and to cooperate with and participate in a training video, wherein he will discuss “triggers and thoughts” that occur while setting fires.

Malenski is set for a judicial review in June in front of Associate District Judge Mark Dobbins.

Prosecutors allege Malenski, an Oklahoma Forestry Services firefighter for seven years, was responsible for setting fire to around 10,000 acres in the Cherokee Wildlife Management Area between 2010 and 2011.

After he was arrested, Malenski allegedly told investigators that setting fires was his “way to escape.”

According to a report submitted to Dobbins by DOC officials, Malenski is ineligible for community sentencing. He has been working with a maintenance crew at the Jim E. Hamilton Correctional Center in Hodgen since February, and has received “outstanding evaluations.”

“Based on the nature of Malenski’s offense and the severity of his crime, it is respectfully recommended modification of Malenski’s sentence be denied,” the DOC report says.

But should Malenski be given probation by the court, the DOC recommends he obtain a mental health evaluation and follow a prescribed treatment plan; attend and complete a parenting class; secure employment; and pay all of the court-ordered fines and fees.

The DOC says Malenski has more than 3,000 days left to serve his sentence, but is eligible for parole in August 2015.