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Man involved in fireworks disaster to remain hospitalized

Appeared in court Wednesday

It’s been almost 10 years since nine people died and three others were injured in a fire at a fireworks store in Scottown. On Wednesday, Todd Hall, the man who is said to be responsible, was again found incompetent to stand trial in connection with the case.

In a brief hearing before Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge D. Scott Bowling, two mental evaluations were presented that supported Hall’s continued commitment to the Appalachian Behavioral Health Care in Athens.

Hall sat between his two attorneys, Kenneth Ryan and William Eachus and occasionally turned around to see family members but said nothing during the hearing.

Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Jeff Smith said in the very near future, Hall’s commitment supervision will be transferred from common pleas court to probate court. Smith said Hall can be held by the criminal court only for the maximum amount of time he could have gotten if he had been tried and convicted of a crime in the case.

“We’re getting close to the end of that period,” Smith said. “There will be no difference in what will happen to him.”

Two family members of the Scottown victims attended the hearing. Clyde Sansom of Wayne, W.Va., lost his son, Matthew, in the fire. Linda Aldridge, of Franklin Furnace, lost her son, Ryan, and granddaughter, Shelly Cron. Both said they were satisfied Hall will remain hospitalized.

“I hope he stays in the state hospital,” Sansom said. “That’s the best place for him.”

Aldridge agreed.

“I don’t want to see another child get what my family got,” she said.

On July 3, 1996, Hall is said to have tossed a lighted cigarette into the fireworks store, setting off an explosion and fire.

Hall was found incompetent to stand trial because of injuries he sustained in a skateboarding accident he had when he was a child. Hall was 24 at the time of the incident.