Man pleads not guilty to setting fire on Cherokee land


ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A man has pleaded not guilty to charges that he set a fire five years ago that burned 142 acres of land belonging to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

The Asheville Citizen-Times (http://avlne.ws/28JO17S ) reports that Raymond Neal Swayney was indicted last month after being accused of setting the May 21, 2011 fire.

Swayney pleaded not guilty to the two arson-related charges Monday in U.S. District Court in Asheville.

If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison, in addition to a fine.

Swayney has been released from custody on a $25,000 bond.

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Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com

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