Weather Forecast


Two men plead guilty to arson after area house burned

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.

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.