Man pleads guilty to fire that killed 13 therapy horses


A man accused of setting a fire that killed 13 horses has pleaded guilty.

Prosecutors said Payton Mellema will spend three years at a mental-health facility under a plea deal reached yesterday in Kent County court.

He lived near the Barn for Equine Learning in Lowell Township, where 13 horses died in April.

The horses were used as therapy for children and young adults with a variety of special needs.

Mellema pleaded guilty to arson and animal cruelty charges. He'll return to court on Oct. 31.

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