Biloxi Man Pleads Guilty To Setting Horn Island Fire

A Biloxi man pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to setting a fire that burned 100 acres on Horn Island last April.

Keith Anthony O'Brien Jr. entered the plea to a charge of willfully starting an illegal fire in a federal wilderness area. O'Brien and Brian Anthony Leonardi were indicted in March. Leonardi pleased guilty to a similar charge on June 12th.

On April 22, 2001, prosecutors said Leonardi, O'Brien and two juveniles stole a power boat from the Biloxi harbor and went to Horn Island. Witnesses on a nearby boat videotaped Leonardi, O'Brien, and one of the juveniles as they went into a wooded area on the island where they shot off flare guns taken from the boat. It took firefighters a week to put out the blaze.

Leonardi is scheduled for sentencing September 18th. No date has been set for O'Brien's sentencing. O'Brien and Leonardi could each face a maximum penalty of five years in prison.