Man pleads guilty to lighting massive car fires at Kings Plaza Mall

Posted: Updated:

The arsonist in the massive parking garage fire at Kings Plaza last September pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday.

The fate of 23-year-old Evon Stephens is now in the hands of a federal judge.

Stephens pleaded guilty in federal court, telling a judge exactly what he did last year in the Kings Plaza shopping mall.

Cameras were not allowed in the courtroom, but when the judge asked Stephens what he did in September of last year, he said, "I lit a car on fire with matches."

He then confirmed the fire spread, causing several vehicles and other property in the parking garage to be severely damaged.

A law enforcement source told News 12 last year that federal charges were brought because the cars were from dealerships, which involved interstate commerce.

At the time of the incident, prosecutors say Stephens confessed to starting the fire because he believed people were having sex in the parked cars.

In court, the judge questioned Stephens about his mental health history.

Defense attorneys say Stephens does have a history of psychiatric hospitalizations, but they were not recent and that an evaluation by a professional has them not concerned about his competence.

Earlier, Stephens signed a plea agreement with the government and he told the judge he understands that means he will be serving a minimum of five years in prison.

He's expected to be sentenced on Aug. 20.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."