Court of Appeals orders Castle resentenced

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 6, 2004

A former Ironton businessman who was sentenced to 18 months in prison on an arson charge will be resentenced in that case.

Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier, Jr. said the Ohio Fourth District Court of Appeals has asked visiting judge Fred Crow to resentence Garry Castle, 51, because at the time of his sentencing on the arson charge in July 2003, Castle was not given an opportunity to speak before the sentence was handed down. Ohio law requires that a defendant be allowed to address the court when he or she is being sentenced.

"During the (July 31) proceedings, (Castle) was represented by an attorney who did present a witness who did speak for Mr. Castle, but the judge did not ask him specifically if he wanted to speak," Collier said. "It was more a technicality than anything else."

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Collier said he does not expect Crow to modify his sentence in any way, and Collier said he would urge the judge to stand by the original 18-month and $5,000 fine.

The Court of Appeals handed down its decision last month. Castle will be resentenced on the arson charge July 16. He also faces a charge of possessing or controlling a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance in a courthouse. He allegedly smuggled a straight razor into the Lawrence County Courthouse and then slit his wrists the day he was sentenced on the arson charge. Collier said if Castle is convicted of the fifth-degree felony charge, he could receive a maximum one-year prison sentence and a $2,500 fine.

In March 2002, the Shake Shoppe on South Third Street caught fire. Castle, who owned the restaurant, admitted three months later that he set the early morning fire, citing recent acts of vandalism against his business as the reason he burned the store. The first trial on an aggravated arson charge ended in a hung jury. Castle avoided retrial by pleading guilty to a lesser charge of arson.

Castle was serving his sentence at the Pickaway Correctional Facility. He is now lodged in the Lawrence County Jail awaiting

court appearances in both cases.

Attempts were made to contact Castle's attorney, Robert Toy. He had not returned phone calls

as of Thursday morning.