Last updated: November 12. 2013 11:22AM - 602 Views
David J. Coehrs Expositor Features Editor

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A former Fayette resident who had set fire to his home there to collect an insurance settlement was sentenced Nov. 8 in Fulton County Common Pleas Court for arson.

Judge James E. Barber ordered Brett Casey, 27, currently of 1093 Barney Oldfield Drive in Wauseon, to serve two years of community control as monitored by the county Adult Probation Department. Casey was also ordered to serve 30 days in the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio near Stryker, and to: pay prosecution costs and attorney fees; stay out of bars and not consume alcohol or illegal substances; maintain employment; abide by an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew; and register as an arson offender annually for life with the local sheriff’s office.

Judge Barber reserved a 12-month prison sentence should Casey fail to comply with the conditions.

He was originally charged with: one count of arson, a fourth-degree felony; two counts of aggravated arson, first- and second-degree felonies, respectively; and one count of insurance fraud, a third-degree felony.

Had he been convicted on all charges, Casey faced the possibility of a maximum 23.8 years in prison and fines totaling $50,000.

Following an investigation by State Fire Marshal Frank Reitmeier, who was present at the sentencing, Casey was arrested Feb. 13 on a warrant issued by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office. He pleaded no contest Aug. 26 to Count 1 of the indictment, and was found guilty. The remaining counts were dismissed in a plea agreement.

A sheriff’s report indicates three separate fires occurred Sept. 9, 2012, at Casey’s home at 16727 County Road 19 in Fayette. At the time, Casey and his family were staying the weekend at a residence at 665 E. Linfoot St. in Wauseon.

Arson was immediately suspected, and, acting on several tips and interviews with parties of interest, investigators later obtained a search warrant for the Linfoot Street residence. There, investigators found numerous items owned by Casey and his live-in girlfriend in the basement, where the items had been stored after being transferred from Casey’s home prior to the fires.

They also discovered that Casey had filed an insurance claim of $150,000 or more for fire damage to his residence and personal property.

Casey declined when the judge offered him an opportunity to speak. His attorney, Amber VanGunten, told the court the defendant is now employed. He had not been employed for several years.

Both the defense and Assistant Prosecutor Paul Kennedy agreed to community control. However, Judge Barber said he was imposing the 30-day jail sentence regardless of whether it adversely affected Casey’s employment.

“This was a serious offense,” he said.

Judge Barber also told Casey, “You’ve been given the opportunity to turn things around.”

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