By Shereen Siewert
The Marathon County District Attorney on Wednesday filed official charges against a Wausau man accused of intentionally setting a fire at a west side home.
James Justin Mack Farrar, 29, first appeared in court March 4 for a probable cause hearing in the case, which remained under investigation at that time. Circuit Judge LaMont Jacobson ruled there was probable cause to hold Farrar, who remains behind bars on a cash bond. An initial appearance was set for 2 p.m. Wednesday after felony arson charges were filed in Marathon County Circuit Court.
Police say Farrar called 911 after setting two fires inside a home in the 300 block of North 10th Avenue. One fire was allegedly set in the bedroom while the second fire was set in the basement, where Farrar is accused of wrapping clothing around a bundle of ammunition before igniting the bundle.
The home was a total loss. Farrar was a renter at the residence.
Farrar has a long history of criminal charges in several counties including in Marathon County, where he was convicted in 2019 of second degree recklessly endangering safety, violating a harassment restraining order and bail jumping. Several additional charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement involving five separate cases. The recklessly endangering safety charge stemmed from a 2017 incident in which Farrar pointed a loaded pistol at a neighbor and threatened to shoot the woman and her son. He was ordered to spend three years on probation.
The arson charge carries a repeater enhancer, which allows for a harsher sentence if Farrar is convicted. A repeater enhancer can be added to a charge if a defendant was convicted of a felony during the five-year period immediately preceding the commission of the crime for which the person is being sentenced.
Farrar faces up to 40 years in prison on the arson charge if he is convicted, plus up to six years for habitual criminality. A preliminary hearing is set for March 24.