Zachary Hodges pleads no contest to misdemeanor count and felony counts are dismissed

The Taft man arrested in connection with a fire that destroyed a vacant South Taft house and damaged an occupied home next door two weeks ago is free after accepting plea agreement.

Zachary Hodges was released from jail on time already served after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor count of unlawfully starting a fire on Wednesday and was sentenced to 24 days in jail, then freed with credit for 12 days actually served and 12 days of good time.

He originally faced felony counts of arson and arson to an inhabited structure. Those charges were dismissed in the plea deal.

Hodges, 23, was arrested by Kern County Fire Department Arson investigators on September 30, the day after a fire broke out in a vacant home on the 300 block of Naylor Avenue.

That structure was destroyed.

A home next door sustained major damage to the side and roof.

In addition to the jail time, Hodges was fined $220 and placed on three years probation.