Eau Claire man charged in arson case pleads guilty

42-year-old Thomas Hicks pleaded guilty to arson and 7 counts of 2nd-degree recklessly endangering safety Monday.
41-year-old Thomas Hicks is charged with arson and seven counts of attempted homicide after...
42-year-old Thomas Hicks pleaded guilty to arson and 7 counts of 2nd-degree recklessly endangering safety Monday.(Eau Claire County Jail)
Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 2:31 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - An man charged with arson after setting his home on fire has entered his pleas in court Monday.

42-year-old Thomas Hicks pleaded guilty to arson of a building and seven counts of 2nd-degree recklessly endangering safety in Eau Claire County Circuit Court Monday, according to online court records.

Seven counts of attempted 1st-degree intentional homicide were dismissed but read in, according to online court records. The seven counts of 2nd-degree recklessly endangering safety were modified from more serious charges of 1st-degree recklessly endangering safety. The seven attempted homicide charges each carried a lifetime prison sentence upon conviction. The maximum sentence for each of the seven recklessly endangering safety charges is 10 years, as well as a maximum penalty of $25,000. The arson charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 40 years and a maximum penalty of $100,000 and carries an enhancer for domestic abuse.

All told, Hicks faces up to 110 years in prison and up to $275,000 in penalties if sentenced to the maximum for each charge he pleaded guilty to.

In court documents filed with the charges, Hicks was accused of starting the fire at his home on the 700 block of Hobart Street on Jan. 21 after getting upset at his wife at the time, who he accused of cheating. Hicks sent her a text message saying “You are going to be sorry,” according to investigators, and then started a fire in a downstairs bedroom before leaving the home. There were four adults and three children, who were ages 3 to 7 at the time, in the home at the time of the fire. They all made it out safely and were not hurt as a result of the fire. Hicks’ wife at the time came home from work to see the house on fire and was not there when it was started, according to the criminal complaint. According to the Eau Claire Fire Department, one firefighter was hurt while crews worked to put out the fire.

Hicks was convicted of arson in 2009 in Oneida County and sentenced in 2010 to four years in prison, four years of extended supervision and five years of probation, according to online court records.

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 6, 2023, according to online court records.

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