18-year-old charged with 11 counts tied to central Topeka fires

Alexander Mandell Jarvis. (Shawnee County Jail)

A teenager originally charged in December as a juvenile in a series of west-central Topeka fires has been charged with 11 counts in adult court tied to the fires, the Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office said Friday.


The defendant, Alexander Mandell Jarvis, of Topeka — who turned 18 in February — was charged with four counts of arson of a dwelling, four counts of aggravated arson of an occupied dwelling, one count of arson to a building and two counts of criminal damage to property valued between $1,000 and $25,000, District Attorney Mike Kagay said.

All of the charges are felonies.

The district attorney’s office started procedures asking a judge to waive Jarvis to adult status. The court approved the waiver on Thursday.

The next court hearing for Jarvis hasn’t been scheduled.

The fires occurred in homes and detached garages in an area bounded by S.W. 10th Street on the north, S.W. Huntoon on the south, S.W. Garfield on the east and S.W. MacVicar on the west, Kagay said.

No one was killed in the fires, but one firefighter suffered injuries that weren’t considered life-threatening. The firefighter returned to work.

A total of 15 fires were intentionally started from April to December 2016. Some neighborhoods had more than one fire-damaged structure, and at least one house sustained fire damage twice.

The Topeka Fire Department’s investigations unit, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the State Fire Marshal’s investigation division investigated the fires.

Jarvis initially was booked into the Shawnee County Juvenile Department of Corrections on Dec. 6.

Jarvis remains in Shawnee County Jail in lieu of a $250,000 bond, the statement said Friday.

Contact reporter Steve Fry at (785) 295-1206 or @TCJCourtsNCrime on Twitter.



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