Chiropractor sentenced to five years in prison
April 10, 2009
A former Park City chiropractor who plotted to destroy his Prospector office was sentenced April 2 to spend the next five years in a federal prison.
Matthew Ian Zarit, 37, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to attempting to damage a building by explosive, which is a felony.
U.S. District Court Judge Tena Campbell ordered Zarit to spend five years in prison and three years on supervised release. He pleaded guilty Jan. 8.
Zarit was arrested after flammable supplies were found at his office building at 1901 Prospector Avenue, investigators said.
Suspicious items in a hallway included several gallons of gasoline, sodium hydroxide, road flares and a fuse, according to Park City Police Department officials.
Items inside Zarit’s office tied him to the materials, investigators said.
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In a five-page statement to the court, Zarit admitted he intended to damage the building.
"On June 2, 2008, I placed the components of a functional explosive device inside a building located at 1901 Prospector Avenue in Park City with the intent to cause damage to a portion of the building where my chiropractic business was housed," Zarit stated.
Zarit reportedly admitted to officers that "he wanted to burn down the whole building for insurance purposes," according to court filings.
Zarit was initially charged in 3rd District Court in Summit County with possession of an incendiary device and attempted arson, which are felonies.
But the federal government took over prosecution of the case last year since activities in the building Zarit had intended to damage affected interstate commerce.
Zarit had placed about four containers filled with gasoline and sodium hydroxide in the hallway of the office building, according to prosecutors.
Zarit admitted to police he "had a timing device to ignite the whole building," court filings state.
But a prison sentence of five years was too harsh, said Richard Mauro, the attorney who represented Zarit.
"While [Zarit] did gather some items that were clearly inflammable, he never went through the final step of hooking up any of the igniters, and in fact, abandoned his efforts and was going to move the stuff out of the building," Mauro said in a telephone interview Thursday. "I don’t think that five years is an appropriate sentence for that."
A dentist with an office in the building called officers June 2 when he discovered some of the items at about 1 a.m.