Madison County

Man accused of Nicholasville arson pleads guilty to amended charge

NICHOLASVILLE — A man accused of arson in the 2009 fire that destroyed a vacant apartment building pleaded guilty Monday to an amended charge.

Terry Rhodes Carter, 66, of Nicholasville faces a recommended sentence of five years in prison for complicity to third-degree arson. A charge of being a persistent felony offender was dismissed.

Carter was indicted in 2009 on a charge of second-degree arson, a felony that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Carter owned a 12-unit apartment building at 306 Edgewood Drive in Nicholasville whose occupants were ordered to leave after it had been condemned by authorities. Fire gutted the building Feb. 14, 2009; members of the Nicholasville Arson Task Force and other investigators thought the blaze was suspicious because the building had no electricity at the time.

The building, valued at $200,000 according to property records at the time, was scheduled to be sold in a few days at a master commissioner's sale.

Acting on a tip a little more than a month later, police arrested Carter and Thomas Aaron Gilbert of Nicholasville. Gilbert, now 31, was indicted on a charge of complicity to second-degree arson. Police said in March 2009 that Carter had agreed to share with Gilbert a portion of the insurance money that Carter stood to gain by having the building burned.

Gilbert pleaded guilty in December 2009 to third-degree arson, and he was granted probation in May 2010, according to Jessamine Circuit Court records. He was also fined $650.

The apartment building that was burned was demolished. and a new apartment building now stands on the site.

Jessamine Circuit Judge Hunter Daugherty scheduled Carter's final sentencing for Aug. 12.