By Shereen Siewert

A Wausau man found guilty at trial of intentionally setting a fire that destroyed a west side home will spend 20 years in the Wisconsin Prison System, after he was sentenced Monday in Marathon County Circuit Court.

James Justin Mack Farrar booking photo, courtesy of the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department

Members of a jury deliberated for little more than an hour before finding James Justin Mack Farrar, 30, guilty of felony arson charges in connection with the March 1 fire at a home he was renting. The home was a total loss.

Police say Farrar called 911 after setting two fires inside the home, in the 300 block of North 10th Avenue. One fire was set in the bedroom while the second fire was set in the basement, where Farrar wrapped clothing around a bundle of ammunition before igniting the bundle, police said, amplifying the danger.

The arson charge carries a repeater enhancer, which allows for a harsher sentence. 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 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.

At Monday’s sentencing hearing, Circuit Judge LaMont Jacobson ordered the sentence, which includes 8 years in prison followed by 12 years of supervision by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. If Farrar violates supervision, he will be required to spend another 12 years behind bars.