Tahlequah Daily Press

June 20, 2013

Judge releases former firefighter

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — A judge on Wednesday ordered the immediate release of a former wildlands firefighter who was serving a prison sentence for arson, despite a recommendation from state officials that a modification be denied.

Associate District Judge Mark Dobbins granted the sentence modification for Mike Adam Malenski, 40, who was convicted last year and sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by five years suspended.

Malenski was accused of setting fire to around 10,000 acres in the Cherokee Wildlife Management Area between 2010 and 2011, while he was employed as an Oklahoma Forestry Services firefighter.

As part of his early release, Malenski was ordered to complete a mental health evaluation and to find “gainful employment.” Prosecutors objected to the modification.

Officials with the Department of Corrections submitted a report last month to recommend a denial of the modification. The report’s finding was based “on the nature of Malenksi’s offense and the severity of his crime.”

Court records show Malenski was represented by attorney Donn Baker.