Kern River Valley

Kernville gas station arsonist gets 2 years in prison

Kernville gas station arsonist gets 2 years in prison

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A man was sentenced Friday in Kern County court to two years in prison for burning down a Kernville gas station.

Kevin Cheatham torched the Riverside One Stop on New Year's Day. Surveillance video from the parking lot showed a shadowy figure and the fire engulf the store.

Cheatham was arrested and extradited from Arizona days after the fire.

Cheatham's defense attorney Andrew Kendall said Friday that he was disappointed in the sentence, instead hoping for probation.

Kendall claimed his client was only starting a fire in an effort to stay warm. In a court document, Jordan Cheatham told arson investigators he'd gotten into a fight with his brother, Kevin Cheatham, in the early morning hours of Jan. 1, and Kevin Cheatham left the house and was missing until about 5 a.m. when he was found outside a trailer park about a quarter mile from the fire.

"I don't think he intended at all to burn the place down," Kendall said. "The thing is a tragedy. He feels tremendous remorse for what has transpired."