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Two Stephens County residents are behind bars and accused of third degree arson in a case dating back to late September 2020.

Daniel Ryan Soto, 41, of Lawton, faces a charge of third degree arson after a former felony conviction and possession of a stolen vehicle. Jacob Wesley Patterson, 20, of Duncan, faces a charge of third degree arson and possession of a stolen vehicle as well.

According to affidavits obtained from the Stephens County Courthouse, Stephens County Sheriff’s Office responded on Sept. 23, 2020, to a call of a burned vehicle in the area of Comanche Lake Road, southeast of Duncan.

Oklahoma State Fire Marshal Judah Sheppard was assigned to the case to investigate the burned vehicle and found it was stolen and reported as such on Sept. 18, 2020, by the vehicle owners.

Sheppard excluded numerous conclusions of how the fire started and reported “the cause of the fire was determined to be ignition of available and combustible materials within the passenger/cab compartment area of the involved vehicle by an external open-flame ignition device through intentional human interaction,” according to the affidavit.

The same report indicates during the investigation, Soto provided a written statement voluntarily that showed he was “involved with taking the stolen vehicle” and that he and Patterson drove it to the location. The same statement shows Soto said Patterson, while the vehicle was not running, allegedly set fire to the vehicle and that Soto didn’t stop it.

The report shows Soto told police in the statement the vehicle was “intentionally set on fire with the introduction of gasoline” and the use of a lighter after the “windows were broken out with a crow bar.” 

Patterson, in his statement to investigators, told law enforcement the same story, except said Soto allegedly set the car on fire and that Patterson did not try to stop Soto.

Soto’s bond is set at $100,000 and he is due in court for a preliminary hearing conference at 9 a.m. on July 28, 2021. Patterson’s bond is set at $50,000 and he waived his preliminary hearing.

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