MEDFORD, Ore. — A 23-year-old man was convicted in Jackson County Circuit Court on Wednesday for lighting a sleeping homeless man on fire in downtown Medford last fall.
Medford Police arrested Brandon Nathaniel Lyon, also a transient, on September 16 after matching his description to that of the suspect, seen on security camera footage lighting the victim's blanket on fire. The 54-year-old victim woke up in flames, receiving third-degree burns to his hands and feet from putting the fire out.
According to a probable cause statement from the arresting officer, Lyon admitted to investigators that he started the fire, and said that he did not know why he did it. There was no known link between Lyon and the victim, Medford Police said at the time.
Lyon initially faced six counts, including Attempted Murder in the Second Degree. On Wednesday, he entered pleas on just two of the charges — "guilty" on Assault in the Second Degree, and "no contest" on Attempted Arson in the First Degree. The other counts were dismissed.
Judge David Orr handed down a sentence of 90 months — 7.5 years — in Oregon state prison. Over the last 20 months of that sentence, Lyon will be eligible for early release or some other kind of transitional program.