Fort Collins beekeeper sentenced to 8 years in prison for massive fire

Benjamin Gilmore walks out of court with his wife, Rebekah, in 2012.

Benjamin Gilmore walks out of court with his wife, Rebekah, in 2012.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The Fort Collins beekeeper convicted of burning down an apartment complex was sentenced to eight years in prison Thursday, the Larimer County District Attorney’s Office said.

Benjamin Gilmore, 31, started a fire at a Fort Collins construction site in October of 2011, a jury found earlier this year. The blaze destroyed the nearby Penny Flats complex and caused an estimated $10 million worth of damage, prosecutors said.

Gilmore was convicted of arson, burglary and criminal mischief, the DA’s Office said. He will serve the sentences concurrently for a total of eight years.

Gilmore became a suspect when investigators found that he participated in Occupy Wall Street protests within a block of the construction site. Gilmore and his supporters have maintained that the fire was set by a transient man seen in the area.

A mistrial was previously declared in the case in September of 2012, when the jury failed to reach a verdict.