Teen pleads guilty to setting fires


A Columbia teen pleaded guilty this morning, to setting fires in downtown Columbia over several days last May.
Richard Nathaniel Mojica, 18, pleaded guilty to second degree arson for a fire set at the Sears department store loading dock at the Mall in Columbia and to malicious burning for a dumpster fire set near the Lord and Taylor department store at the mall.
Assistant State's Attorney New Curry told the judge that police and fire investigators determined that the Sears fire was started by igniting bales of cardboard stored under two truck trailers parked in the loading dock. 
The Lord and Taylor fire was started by igniting combustible material in a dumpster and chute leading to a trash compactor. That fire caused an estimated $10,000 worth of damage. 
Mojica admitted to setting the fires. 
Under the terms of the plea agreement, prosecutors will seek a 100-year prison sentence with a recommendation that all but 248 days be suspended. Mojica will also be required to make restitution to all the victims, have no contact with them or their properties, not possess fire ignition equipment or flammable liquids, seek appropriate treatment and serve 5 years of supervised probation. 
Mojica is scheduled to be sentenced on January 10, however, a pre-sentencing investigation and a psychological evaluation has been ordered. 
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