ALBUQUEQUE (KRQE) – The drifter accused of using a lighter to set a string of fires in the Bosque last year pleaded guilty to arson Wednesday morning but the judge cut him a break.
Audie Helms was arrested in earlier this year after an Open Space officer saw him running away from a fire, then saw him lighting another. He was spotted by the officer after seven other fires were sparked in the Bosque near the Hispanic Cultural Center and Tingley Beach over the course of two days.
Helms was charged with two counts of a lighting a fire on state lands which is a fourth degree felony. In court Wednesday morning, Helms pleaded guilty to both. His attorney also asked judge Briana Zamora to remove Helms’ ankle monitor and allow him to travel outside the county to see a relative.
Helms has worn the ankle monitor since June and has not violated any conditions of his release. His attorney says he’ll be under strict supervision until his sentencing which has not yet been set.
Helms faces up to three years behind bars for the arson charges.