Crime

Nicholasville man indicted in two Jessamine arsons and burglaries

John C. Roth, 38, of Nicholasville has been indicted by a Jessamine County grand jury in connection with two arsons and burglaries.
John C. Roth, 38, of Nicholasville has been indicted by a Jessamine County grand jury in connection with two arsons and burglaries.

A man charged in connection with a series of Central Kentucky arsons and burglaries this past spring has been indicted by a Jessamine County grand jury.

John C. Roth, 38, of Nicholasville pleaded not guilty to nine felony counts at his arraignment Wednesday before Jessamine Circuit Judge Hunter Daugherty, according to court records.

Roth was indicted on two counts of second-degree arson, two counts of second-degree burglary, two counts of theft, receiving stolen property over $500, possession of a controlled substance, and being a persistent felony offender.

The arson counts say that Roth, “acting alone or in complicity with another,” started fires on April 29 and May 2 in Jessamine County in an attempt to destroy buildings owned by Shell Cheek and Maquel Sarantakos.

When Roth was arrested in May, a 17-year-old also was charged with burglary and arson, but juvenile court proceedings are closed to the public.

According to court records,

Roth is accused of taking guitars and jewelry valued at more than $500 from the Cheek home and televisions valued at more than $500 from the Sarantakos home.

He also is accused of receiving, retaining or disposing of property that had been stolen May 9 from a house on Jacks Creek Pike in Madison County. Roth allegedly took some stolen property to a Nicholasville pawn shop.

According to the drug charge, Roth was in possession of

methamphetamine, and he is charged as a persistent felon because he has at least two felony convictions.

He served three years of a five-year sentence for a 2014 arson conviction in Jefferson County. He was released on parole in December.

The series of fires began April 29 in Garrard County, and the second was on the same afternoon in Jessamine. Fires and burglaries followed at homes in Fayette, Scott and Madison counties. The Scott County fire leveled a house and destroyed a Ferrari.

The witness before the grand jury was Pat Alford, arson investigator for Kentucky State Police.

Roth remains in the Jessamine County jail in lieu of cash bonds totaling $120,500. He is scheduled to be back in court on Aug. 12.

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