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West Fargo man gets 30 days for lighting girlfriend's porch on fire

FARGO - Bruce Risberg is going to jail on Monday, and he and his longtime girlfriend - whose porch he was charged with lighting on fire - have nothing but good things to say about it.

"My case turned out awesome," said the West Fargo man after his sentencing Tuesday in Cass County District Court. "Thank God we had a lawyer."

Risberg is set to serve 30 days behind bars after pleading guilty to a felony reckless endangerment charge in which prosecutors accused him of setting the porch of his girlfriend's home on fire while she was inside. Court documents say that Risberg forced his way into the home and used bug spray to feed the fire. Risberg admitted he was upset with his girlfriend, but at the sentencing, his attorney, Leslie Johnson Aldrich, said Risberg had tried to amend his actions.

"Mr. Risberg flicked the cigarette, but he's also the one who put it out ... He didn't stop [the victim] from leaving. He stopped this himself," Johnson Aldrich said.

Risberg and his girlfriend said that they have undergone relationship counseling since the incident, an experience they recommend for other couples in discord.

Prosecutors asked that Risberg get 180 days in jail with two years of supervised probation and a deferred imposition for 24 months. Judge John Irby gave him 30 days instead, which may be served by work release.

Risberg and his girlfriend say they're just happy he got to finally spend time at home now that the case has been resolved. The couple has a 14-year-old daughter.

"That's all right," Risberg said of his sentence. "That little time, I can handle that."