Brother pleads guilty in Cudahy plant fire trial
August 24, 2009
by Bryan Salvage
MILWAUKEE, WIS. — Joshua J. Popp, 23, one of two brothers charged in connection with last month's Patrick Cudahy meat plant fire, pleaded guilty to second-degree recklessly endangering safety on Aug. 24. Mr. Popp gave his brother a military flare that landed on the building's roof and sparked the blaze, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.
Although he could avoid serving prison time, prosecutors will request he serve some jail time, the length of which will be determined by the court.
Prosecutors will recommend the court impose and stay a prison sentence and place Mr. Popp on probation for three years in exchange for his guilty plea. Prosecutors also will recommend he perform community service.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel account, Mr. Popp and his 25-year-old brother, Kurtis were at their parents' home in Cudahy July 5 when Joshua gave Kurtis a military flare he had obtained while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. Kurtis launched the flare, which landed on the plant's roof and started a fire that caused an estimated $50 million in damage.
Also charged with second-degree recklessly endangering safety, Kurtis Popp is expected to enter a plea on Sept. 1.