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Man convicted of arson in Ferndale sentenced to jail time

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published July 21, 2020

 David Hayes, center right, waits to be sentenced by Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Phyllis McMillan, pictured top right, over Zoom July 17 on a charge of third-degree arson.

David Hayes, center right, waits to be sentenced by Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Phyllis McMillan, pictured top right, over Zoom July 17 on a charge of third-degree arson.

Screenshot by Mike Koury

FERNDALE — A Ferndale man who pleaded guilty to a charge of third-degree arson of a townhome has been sentenced.

David Hayes appeared via Zoom before Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Phyllis McMillan July 17 to be sentenced in his arson case. He was arrested in May by Ferndale police for starting multiple fires in an under-construction Parkdale Townes townhome.

Hayes told the court that he wished he could take that night back. He blamed his actions on substance abuse problems and felt that if he hadn’t had been using, he wouldn’t have been in that situation.

“I’m sick of doing this,” he said. “I’ve had plenty of prison time, terms, and me just doing the same thing and expecting different results just isn’t working.”

Hayes’ attorney, Hillarie Boettger, said her client is remorseful for his conduct in May, which she said arose from his need to find shelter and warmth due to his homelessness.

“I don’t believe he went there with the intent of doing the destruction to the property, but I do believe it is a result of his actions,” she said.

Hayes was sentenced to 200 days in jail with credit for 66 days, which would be suspended immediately as soon as there’s a bed available for him at a Public Act 511 residential facility.

McMillan said it was clear the affect Hayes’ substance abuse had wasn’t good for him, and with his homelessness, she felt a residential facility and an adult treatment program would be a good fit for him.

“I think you could benefit from that,” she said. “That would be a huge benefit to you to have a roof over your head and some treatment.”

“I think the resources and intense supervision that you would receive in that program also would … make it more likely for you to be successful in the future,” the judge continued.

Hayes also was given two years of probation and was ordered to stay away from alcohol and drugs — unless a drug was prescribed by a psychiatrist — submit to testing, avoid assaultive behavior, and he was told not to possess or use any firearms or other deadly weapons.

Once he’s released from jail, Hayes told the court, his intent is to remove his tattoos and start cooking, with the aim to get a job at a pizza place and maybe open his own business someday.