Arson suspect#8217;s bond set at #036;200,000

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 10, 2008

Johnny R. Sammons Jr., indicted on five counts of arson in connection with a South Point duplex fire, remains in the Lawrence County Jail.

Sammons, 26, pleaded not guilty in a Wednesday arraignment in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court. Bond was set at $200,000 cash or surety. Attorney Mike Gleichauf was appointed as Sammons’ attorney.

He was arrested March 16, in Fort Jackson, S.C., and was brought back on April 5.

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The arson charges stem from a fire on Dec. 9, 2007, that destroyed a duplex where Sammons, his wife, Michelle, and young children lived.

Living in the adjoining apartment was Sandra Sipps, 42, her daughter, Alexis, 12, son, Lathan, 16, and friend, Tammy Woods, 40.

The fire broke out around 1:30 Sunday morning and took seven hours for four area volunteer fire department units to bring it under control.

Three months later a grand jury indicted Sammons on four counts of first degree aggravated arson and a single count of second degree aggravated arson.

If convicted Sammons could face from three to 10 years on the first degree arson charges and from two to eight years on the lesser charge.

A pre-trial for Sammons is set for April 23.