LOWELL TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) – The suspect in a Kent County barn fire in which 13 therapy horses were killed has been formally charged.
Payton Mellema, 20, was arraigned Friday afternoon in Grand Rapids Township district court on one count of third-degree arson and one count of killing/torturing animals – both felony charges, according to the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office.
Investigators say Mellema set fire to The Barn for Equine Learning in Lowell Township on April 8. Because the barn doors had been locked from the inside, the owners said they were unable to rescue the horses.
Mellema’s arson charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines and the killing/torturing animal charge carries a penalty of up to four years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
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