Bemidji man sentenced to almost five years for arson

By: News Director Larissa Donovan

BEMIDJI– A Bemidji man was sentenced today to almost five years in a state prison for arson.

According to court documents, 38-year-old Brian Andy Simon pleaded guilty to first degree arson earlier this month.

The criminal complaint states that Simon set a mobile home on fire in August 2018 near the old Newby’s store, where video surveillance captured a person resembling Simon leaving the area at approximately the same time the fire was set.

Brian Andy Simon, 38, Bemidji. Photo courtesy of the Beltrami County Jail.

Simon’s phone was confiscated as a part of that investigation and was subsequently charged with six counts of possessing child pornography.

Simon has already spent over a year in custody, and no conviction has yet been passed on the child pornography charges, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Larissa Donovan was the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016, through July 2023. She covered all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University. You can follow along with Larissa's live tweets of meetings and events on Twitter!

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