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Pruitt has charges dismissed

David Pruitt, the former owner of Scottown Fireworks, no longer faces felony escape charges for skipping the first days of a jail term in October.

Thursday, February 08, 2001

David Pruitt, the former owner of Scottown Fireworks, no longer faces felony escape charges for skipping the first days of a jail term in October.

Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr.’s office nollied, or dismissed, the felony escape charge because it does not coincide with state statutes.

The charge was refiled in Ironton Municipal Court as failure to appear, a first-degree misdemeanor. Pruitt’s arraignment in municipal court is scheduled for Feb. 26 at 1:30 p.m.

Last year, Pruitt faced six months in jail for misdemeanor charges of illegally selling fireworks near his Scottown store where nine people died in a 1996 fire. He failed to show at the Lawrence County Jail.

Mississippi police arrested him near Biloxi, Miss., and local authorities charged him with felony escape.

At a January hearing in Common Pleas Court, Pruitt’s lawyer, Phillip Heald, argued that the charge against his client should be misdemeanor failure to appear. The circumstances of Pruitt not showing for his jail appearance did not fit with the felony escape statute, he said.

Assistant prosecutor Chuck Cooper also asked to check the statutes and another hearing was set.

The most jail time the state could seek for misdemeanor failure to appear would be six months, Cooper said.