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Plea offer calls for 45-year sentence in fatal arson fire, prosecutor says
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Plea offer calls for 45-year sentence in fatal arson fire, prosecutor says

Ronald Alan Gee

Ronald Alan Gee

CROWN POINT — Lake County prosecutors have offered a man a plea deal that calls for a 45-year sentence in a fatal arson fire three years ago in Hammond, but he won't take it unless changes are made, his attorney said Tuesday.

Ronald A. Gee, 45, is currently scheduled to stand trial starting May 17 on charges of murder, attempted murder and arson in connection with a fire April 14, 2018, at 19 Doty St. in Hammond.

Gee is accused of using gasoline to start the fire, which killed Brenda Young Poole, 62, and injured Gee's estranged wife and Poole's son.

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Gee's attorney, Kerry Connor, asked Lake Criminal Court Judge Natalie Bokota to set another pretrial hearing for May 11.

When Bokota asked if a plea offer had been made, Connor said it had but the terms would have to be different for Gee to consider it.

Bokota then asked Deputy Prosecutor Jacob Brandewie to put the terms of the offer on the record.

The plea offer calls for Gee to admit to charges of murder, attempted murder and arson, he said. In exchange for his pleas, Gee would receive concurrent sentences of 45 years, 20 years and 10 years, for a total of 45 years, Brandewie said.

Bokota ordered Gee released from the Lake County Jail in March under Indiana Criminal Rule 4, which requires prosecutors to bring defendants to trial within a certain time frame while holding them in custody. The state missed its deadline.

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Gee was given permission to live in Berwyn, Illinois, while his case remains pending. He was ordered to wear a GPS-equipped ankle bracelet and have no contact with the victims it the case.

Brandewie said Gee has until May 11 to decide on the state's plea offer. After that date, the offer will no longer be on the table.

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