Man who set fire to Old Bedford Middle School sentenced on three counts

Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 9:46 PM EDT
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BEDFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - “I think what is so important about a mistake is how a person responds. Some persons learn from their mistake, benefits from it and does better, the others just keep on doing the same thing. There are times when I have sympathy for those in the first category; quite often I don’t have much sympathy at all for people who continue to do the same thing,” said the Judge to Daniel Flint Friday afternoon.

Daniel Flint has been sentenced to three years and two months behind bars, since he set the Old Bedford Middle School on fire, on counts of violating probation, burglary and arson; totaling 21 years with 15 of them suspended. Flint will also get credit for the three years he’s already served, meaning he will serve three total more years in jail.

“Based upon my experience in the courtroom with this type of incident, it’s a significant and a reasonable resolution. The judge had a lot of different elements to weigh, not only the nature of the crime itself, the pattern of disregard of the prior court order, but also the absolutely present mental health issues that Mr. Flint has been dealing with his entire life,” said Wes Nance, Bedford County Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Flint is autistic and his mental health has been discussed throughout the case.

“Mr. Flint is autistic and that changes his worldview; that changes his social interactions; that changes people’s perception,” said Flint’s attorney.

The defense shared that Flint went to the school and was bullied, saying that’s what led to him wanting to burn it down.

“He said, ‘I wanted to see it burn. I was angry at all the horrible memories of that place, I wanted it to burn along with all those memories’,” said Flint’s attorney.

Flint’s attorney wanted no more jail time, saying he has already served three years and a month. But the commonwealth brought up Flint’s past of violent crimes, including malicious shooting of several vehicles in 2016. One of those cars was driven by a WDBJ7 reporter, who was not hurt.

“The young man that likes Legos also threatens people, also collects knives, also points firearms at vehicles and pulls the trigger, points them at law enforcement and fortunately did not, and then burns down a school building,” said Nance.

Once released from jail, Flint will also need to be on good behavior for 10 years. Seven of those years will be through supervised probation. The commonwealth expects to come back 60 days before he leaves jail to structure a release plan as well.