JEFFERSON-Damion Blevins finally had his day in court after months of continuances in one of the county’s most high profile cases in recent memory.
Blevins entered an Alford plea to a felony charge of burning a church or religious building during the Aug. 31, session of Ashe County Superior Court.
His conviction stems from the July 29, 2012 burning of the North Beaver Baptist Church in West Jefferson.
He was one of three individuals originally arrested.
Essentially, an Alford plea involves a defendant who proclaims he is innocent of a crime, but admits that the prosecution has enough evidence to prove that he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
For purposes of sentencing, Blevins’ church burning charge was consolidated with a separate charge of felony obtaining property by false pretenses. He will serve 11-23 months in the N.C. Department of Adult Corrections at the expiration of a term of 78 to 106 months in prison for discharging a weapon into an occupied building. Altogether, he will serve a minimum of seven and a half years in prison. He received 355 days jail credit while he was awaiting trial
The state dismissed charges of felony breaking and entering a place of worship and larceny after breaking and entering.
In another matter, Blevins pleaded no contest to assault on a female.
A second suspect charged in the arson case, Anthony Dustin Graybeal, is scheduled to reappear in court on Feb. 16 on similar charges related to the church burning.
Charges against a third suspect originally arrested in the North Beaver arson case were eventually dropped.
Reach Jesse Campbell at 336-846-7164.