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Two men plead guilty to arson after area house burned

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Two men accused of setting a house on fire in January have pleaded guilty to second-degree arson.

Allen Antaya, 20, of Platte, and Brandon Mehlbrech, 27, of Mitchell, entered their pleas during Aurora County court last week.

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They are convicted of burning an unoccupied house in rural Aurora County on Jan. 16. About two weeks after they burned the house, a man gave police a picture message he received from Mehlbrech. The picture showed a house on fire with a message that said, “what we do lol,” according to court documents.

They had been charged with first-degree arson, unauthorized use of a vehicle and two counts of second-degree petty theft. In exchange for their pleas to second-degree arson, those charges were dropped, according to court documents.

Second-degree arson carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Antaya and Mehlbrech are scheduled for sentencing in June.

Antaya was released earlier this month from jail when he posted 10 percent of a $1,000 bond, which Judge Pat Smith reduced from $10,000.

Mehlbrech was released when he paid his $10,000 bond.

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