A 31-year-old Topaz Ranch Estates man, who owes more than half a million dollars restitution for a wildland fire, was sentenced Monday to three years probation for an unrelated burglary.
District Judge Michael Gibbons told Steven Walter Cozad he would be released from Douglas County Jail on Aug. 8.
“The court considered more jail time, but with that enormous amount you owe, you do need to get out and get a job,”
He sentenced Cozad to 36 months in Nevada state prison, suspended, and placed him on probation.
He is subject to random search and seizure, and must abstain from drugs and alcohol. He may not have contact with the victim of the burglary.
In an agreement with the district attorney’s office, Cozad agreed to take the responsibility for the devastating May 2012 Topaz Ranch Estates fire which consumed 7,500 acres. The state dropped charges against his mother, the co-defendant in the fire. He pleaded guilty in East Fork Justice Court to burning trash, waste, rubbish or toxic material, a misdemeanor.
At his sentencing June 7, Cozad was ordered to pay $556,759.86 restitution.
Cozad and his mother, Kim Carlin, were charged with failure to guard or extinguish a fire which authorities say started on their property from a May 20, 2012, out-of-control burn that flared up two days later.
Cozad pleaded guilty to felony burglary in the theft of copper wire and wire harnesses valued at $2,500 from a Foothill Road ranch which occurred several months after the fire.
According to the complaint, a ranch worker identified Cozad as the suspect who was seen on the property about 10 p.m. March 31.
The complaint said Cozad entered a service truck and a semi-truck/trailer on the property, and committed three vehicle burglaries. The witness said he recognized Cozad from his picture in the newspaper, and said they grew up together.
He said he chased the suspect in his vehicle when Cozad reportedly left the property, but gave up when speeds reached 100 mph.
None of the victims in the burglary requested restitution.
Cozad originally thought he would be released on Monday, but Gibbons ordered him held until Aug. 8.
“The fire was bad enough, but with this situation — it involved a high-speed chase — the conduct itself is pretty bad,” Gibbons said. “I am not sure he should get out today.”
Cozad’s attorney, Kris Brown, said her client had been in custody for a long time.
“He’s not had a significant amount of time in custody before,” Brown said. “It’s had an impact on him.”
Cozad said he had employment lined up so he could begin to pay restitution.
“I can start work as early as tomorrow,” he said Monday.