Carnival worker facing reckless burning, criminal mischief charges in motel fire Female companion being sought

A carnival worker who allegedly set fire to a room at the Super 8 Motel last fall was extradited Friday to Drew County where he is facing reckless burning and first-degree criminal mischief charges.

John W. Barnett, a 38-year-old Florida man who worked with the carnival at the Drew County Fair last year, allegedly set fire to a motel room causing about $15,000 in damages, according to Lt. John Dement, a criminal investigator with the Monticello Police Department.

The fire, which was contained to the motel room, had several points of origin, according to Dement.

Dement said the motive for setting the fire is not known but witnesses told police Barnett and and his female companion, 26-year-old Melissa Adair of Monticello, had fought the entire night of September 28, the night of the fire.

Adair, also a carnival worker, is being sought for the same crime.

Barnett, who was wanted in Missouri on unrelated charges, was arrested a couple of months ago by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers while attempting to cross the Mexican border.

After dealing with his problems in Missouri, Barnett waived extradition to Drew County. Dement and Lt. Greg Johnson, also a detective with the Monticello Police Department, picked Barnett up Friday at a Greene County Missouri jail.

Barnett is currently being held in the Drew County Detention Center on a $100,000 bond.

Explaining the two charges Barnett is facing, 10th Judicial District Prosecutor Thomas Deen said reckless burning is purposely starting a fire and recklessly allowing it to pose a danger to others while the first-degree criminal mischief charge addresses property damage.

If convicted of both crimes, Barnett faces a maximum 32-year prison sentence, 20 years for criminal mischief and 12 years for reckless burning.

Adair, whose whereabouts are unknown, is facing similar charges, according to Dement.

Anyone who has information about Adair's whereabouts should call Dement or Johnson at (870) 367-3411.

The Advance-Monticellonian

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