Grand jury indicts Castle

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 19, 2002

A Lawrence County Grand Jury has returned an

indictment against Ironton businessman Garry Castle in connection with the March 28 Shake Shoppe fire.

Castle is charged with aggravated arson, which is a first- degree felony. If convicted, he could receive a prison

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sentence of between 3 and 10 years, and a maximum fine of $20,000.

Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier, Jr., said that his decision to seek a first- degree charge against Castle was based on the fact that the fire was premeditated, deliberately set and that it posed a serious and unnecessary risk to the lives of the fire fighters.

"In reviewing the facts, it became clear to me that this should be treated in a serious fashion," Collier said. "This is a serious crime. It put fire fighters needlessly in harm's way."

Castle will be arraigned July 3 in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

Castle two weeks ago submitted a two-paragraph statement in which he admitted to starting the fire. His attorney, D. L. McWhorter, said Castle himself was not sure why he set the fire, but that he had been contending with vandalism and threatening calls at the South Third Street eatery.

McWhorter stated that financial issues were not the reason his client started the blaze. Teresa Moore/The Ironton Tribune