SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A teenager who admitted setting fire to an animal husbandry building at Brigham Young University on behalf of an animal rights group has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison.
Harrison David Burrows, 18, was sentenced Monday but will be allowed to turn himself in Jan. 28 to an institution chosen by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
He could have been sentenced up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to destruction of property by fire for the July 8 blaze at BYU's Ellsworth Farm on the Provo campus.
Damage was estimated at $30,000.
In an earlier statement to the court, Burrows stated, "We started the fires to make a political statement on behalf of the Animal Liberation Front," an animal-rights group that has been linked in the past to other crimes.
Burrows admitted he used gasoline to ignite bales of cardboard kept in the recycling area of Ellsworth Farm.
"It was a mighty serious business he was involved in," U.S. District Judge David Winder said Monday.
However, because Burrows took full responsibility for his actions and offered "substantial assistance" to law enforcement officials -- especially the FBI -- federal prosecutors entered a motion asking the judge to sentence Burrows to a lesser term than the five-year minimum mandatory.
"I would just like to offer my apologies to this court and the community," Burrows said.
A co-defendant, Joshua Stephen Demmitt, also has pleaded guilty to the same charge for the BYU fire and awaits sentencing.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)