The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

May 2, 2012

Suspected arsonist headed to grand jury

CONNEAUT — A man accused of setting fire to a mobile home while a police officer was inside was bound over to the Ashtabula County grand jury at a hearing late Tuesday afternoon.

Justin Mayberry, 33, waived his right to a preliminary hearing before Conneaut Municipal Court Judge Thomas Harris. Manacled and guarded by two Conneaut police officers — including the one who escaped the burning mobile home Wednesday night — Mayberry did not say a word during the brief hearing. He did speak with well-wishers seated in the audience before the hearing began.

Mayberry remains in jail on a revocation matter stemming from charges of resisting arrest and aggravated disorderly conduct filed in 2010. Mayberry’s release from jail on those charges hinged on good behavior, court officials said. Mayberry can be held on the revocation issue for 30 days, Harris said.

Another court hearing dealing with bond on the pending charges will be held at 2:45 p.m. Tuesday.

Representing Mayberry at the hearing was attorney Jane Timonere of Jefferson. Conneaut Law Director David Schroeder and Assistant Prosecutor Carly Prather handled the city’s case.

Mayberry faces felony charges of aggravated arson (first degree), assault on a police officer (fourth degree) and possession of criminal tools (fifth degree), along with misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and aggravated disorderly conduct.

He is accused of setting fire to a mobile home he shared with a 33-year-old woman after the two argued. Police were sent to 202 W. Main Road, Lot 112, in response to reports of a man smashing glass out of a parked vehicle — which turned out to be the girlfriend’s sedan.

When Patrolman Jason Rivers arrived on the scene, a man later identified as Mayberry darted inside, according to reports. Rivers followed, and discovered the trailer was filled with a flammable liquid and a natural gas line had been severed, filling the mobile home with fumes. Mayberry told the officer he was going to burn and started a fire, police said.

The officer escaped from one door, while Mayberry exited from another. He was apprehended after a struggle with officers at the CLYO ballfield complex on Center Street.

The girlfriend, identified as Lisa Britton Hennessey, 33, was not home at the time, police said. She has been charged with providing police a false statement regarding Mayberry’s whereabouts.

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