Man charged with arson at new Cole County Jail site

A Kansas City man is charged with damaging the new Cole County Jail construction site by starting a fire on the property late Friday night.

Prosecutors on Saturday charged James Oliver, 42, with knowingly burning, possession of marijuana and first-degree trespassing.

A Jefferson City Police Department probable cause statement said the fire began about 11:55 p.m. Friday, when Oliver reportedly set fire to a pile of scrap lumber and trash that was piled up near the jail construction site, at 310 Adams St.

The fire was about 30 feet from the building. It destroyed large power lines, which were melted, causing a total power loss to the construction site.

Oliver was found hiding well inside the second floor of the jail, and was taken into custody. He was in possession of a small bag of marijuana and a red lighter, police reported.

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