RAWLINS — The former operator of a meat processing plant will serve little additional jail time but must pay $39,454 in restitution for allowing scores of wild game carcasses to spoil and then setting fire to his plant.
John Rion, the former operator of Encampment Meats, had been found guilty in January by a jury of felony property destruction and first-degree arson.
On Monday, District Judge Wade Waldrip suspended all but six months of a five-year jail sentence so that Rion could find a job and pay off the damages.
Rion was given credit for the 166 days he had already been in jail, meaning he had about two more weeks of jail time left to serve.
"It is restitution that has kept you out of prison," Waldrip said.
But the judge warned that failure to pay up "will put you in prison."
Rion, who had no previous criminal record, said he was prepared to reimburse the insurance company for the building and those who lost game meat "in a truly aggressive manner."
"You will never see me again," he said.
Rion was charged with allowing 52 carcasses of wild game, mostly elk, to spoil at the processing plant. He was also charged with setting a fire with the intent of burning the plant in January 2005.