November 19, 2008

State of Alabama
Press Release: Forestry Commission, Alabama

Three Winston County Residents Plead Guilty to Woods Arson Charges

Gregory Cencia Wilson, aged 29, recently pleaded guilty in the Circuit Court of Winston County to six counts for arson of woodlands. He was sentenced to six years in prison on each count, to run concurrently. Sentence was suspended and Wilson was fined $12,000 and placed on supervised probation for a period of six years on each count, to run concurrently.

Shannon Joey Bartlett, aged 26, also pleaded guilty to these same arson crimes. He was sentenced to six months on each count. Bartlett’s sentence was suspended and he was fined $3,000 and placed on supervised probation for two years on each count, to run concurrently.

A third defendant, an 18-year-old female granted Youthful Offender status, also pleaded guilty to the charges. Sentenced to six months on each count, sentence was suspended and the defendant was fined $3,000 and placed on supervised probation for two years on each count, to run concurrently.

These arson convictions were the result of a joint investigation conducted by law enforcement officers with the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) and the Forest Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture. The three were arrested on March 27 and charged with six felony counts each for the intentional setting of woodland fires on both private and federal land occurring March 12, 2008. Under Alabama law, it is a felony to willfully, maliciously, or intentionally burn or set fire to any forest, grass, or woodlands.

According to the AFC’s Law Enforcement Chief Craig Hill, these convictions are part of the Forestry Commission’s ongoing effort to combat forestry-related crimes in Alabama. “We are committed to conducting vigorous investigations and prosecutions of all crimes against Alabama’s forests and forest landowners: not only woods arson, but also timber theft, theft of timber harvesting equipment, and illegal dumping,” Hill said. “We want the public to be aware that law enforcement is a vital part of our mission to protect Alabama’s tremendous forest resource. Individuals who violate the laws designed to protect our forests will be arrested and prosecuted.”



  • For more information, visit http://forestry.alabama.gov
  • For more state-wide press releases, click here