Hooper
Hooper
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Matthew D. Hooper has been sentenced to 89 months in prison for setting four fires in Queen Anne and Ballard last fall.

The four-alarm Gascoigne Lumber fire set on Nov. 10 was the most intense, causing more than $4 million in damage. Five structures were destroyed, including a storage building filled with finished lumber and wood trim, which is where Hooper started the fire.

Hooper, 39, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree arson, admitting to setting the Gascoigne Lumber fire, as well as ones at the Seattle Gymnastics Academy in Ballard, the Ballard Smoke Shop and the Elks Club No. 92 building between Nov. 8-28. He also admitted to setting a fire at the Christopher Togawa Insurance Building on Oct. 28, according to court documents.

Hooper said he was glad to have been caught during his Nov. 15 sentencing hearing, and attributed his crimes to mental illness, according to video by KIRO 7, which was the only media outlet at court that day. Part of his sentencing includes the need to obtain a mental health evaluation.

Hooper was identified as a suspect on Nov. 30, 2018, having been caught on security cameras at every arson scene wearing the same distinctive clothing, according to an investigation report. He was later connected to the fires through DNA evidence.

He told detectives he had set the fires to protect himself, and claimed to be able to pay for all of the damages, but had been living unhoused prior to his arrest. A restitution hearing has not yet been set.

Hooper was in Whatcom County custody when Seattle officers contacted him, having been charged with two counts of third-degree assault, second-degree burglary, third-degree theft and third-degree malicious mischief.

He will serve his sentence concurrently with his sentence in Whatcom County. His 89-month sentences for the arson fires was recommended by the King County Prosecutor’s Office through a plea agreement, and Hooper was given credit for 133 days of time already served. He will serve 18 months of community custody following his release.