Press conference scheduled in arson case

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 4, 2004

An Ironton man charged with aggravated arson in connection with a fire

that killed three people at the Lyle Motel Monday may still face additional charges as details continue to emerge.

Ironton Fire Chief Tom Runyon met with investigators from the State Fire Marshal's office for several hours this morning but specifics were not available as of press time. Officials have scheduled a press conference for 2 p.m. today.

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Roger Marshall, 56, has been charged with aggravated arson, a second-degree felony, but more charges may be forthcoming. Marshall remains at a Columbus hospital being treated for what Runyon called "considerable burns."

James Reed and John Meyer, who both lived at the Lyle Motel, along with Meyer's girlfriend, Lolaetta Corbin Hicks, were found dead when Ironton firefighters were called to the scene of the 2 a.m. blaze Monday. Their bodies have been sent to the Ohio State Medical Examiner's Office in Columbus for autopsies.

The cause of the fire and the circumstances that led to it remain under investigation.

Chuck Cooper, an assistant prosecutor with the Lawrence County Prosecutor's Office, said that his office is awaiting the initial reports from the Ironton Police Department and the fire marshal's office before determining if additional charges will be filed. These documents would include interviews, preliminary evidence and witness statements.

Though it remains too soon to elaborate on the possibility, Cooper said that seeking the death penalty could be considered.

"In cases of multiple homicides, that is a possibility," Cooper said. "We have not even begun to look at that. It hasn't been ruled out, either. It really hasn't been studied."