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Homeless man pleads guilty for destructive fire at Bellevue mosque

The man charged for a January fire that badly damaged a mosque in Bellevue pleaded guilty Friday morning to first-degree reckless burning in King County Superior Court. (KOMO News) 

SEATTLE -- A homeless man charged for a January fire that badly damaged a mosque in Bellevue pleaded guilty Friday morning to first-degree reckless burning in King County Superior Court.

Isaac Wayne Wilson, 37, was originally charged with second-degree arson and held on $1 million bail for the Jan. 14 fire at the Islamic Center of the Eastside.

In a plea deal Friday, Wilson pleaded guilty to the lowered charge of reckless burning and an unrelated malicious mischief charge.

According to court documents, Wilson has a lengthy criminal record with at least 26 prior convictions, most of them misdemeanors.

Wilson's probation officer told the court Wilson suffers from serious mental health issues.

In January, firefighters responded to the mosque on the 14700 block of Main Street in Bellevue to find 40-foot-flames coming from the building. Crews saved half the building.

A police officer reportedly saw Wilson lying down in the parking lot behind the mosque during the fire and Wilson admitted to police that he had started the fire, according to court documents.

Although a motive is unclear, this wasn't the first time Wilson was involved in incidents at the mosque.

In 2016, Wilson was convicted of fourth-degree assault and disorderly conduct for incidents at the Islamic Center, documents state.

"So this alleged arson is not the first offense by this defendant against the mosque he targeted in this case and has had devastating impacts on the community," prosecutors wrote in court documents.

There were no injuries from the fire and no one was inside the building during the incident.

Bellevue Mayor John Stokes in January called the fire a "terrible incident" and that a "cowardly act of one individual has impacted a house of worship."

Wilson will be sentenced next month and is expected to a get a term of 14 months, plus restitution.



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