The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 16, 2013

Jury finds Ashtabula man guilty in Bonniewood fire trial

By STACY MILLBERG - smillberg@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — After only about an hour of deliberation Friday morning, jurors returned with a guilty verdict on all three charges for Tyler Payne.

Payne was found guilty on charges of illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs, a second degree felony; illegal manufacture of drugs, a first degree felony; and aggravated arson, a first degree felony.

Payne was indicted on the charges following an investigation into a fire that destroyed an apartment at 3228 Altman Court, in the Bonniewood allotment, on Dec. 8, 2012.

The trial began Tuesday, but was delayed Wednesday after Payne became ill after the trial resumed after lunch.

Things got off to a rocky start during Thursday’s proceedings as Payne fired his attorney, Jason Fairchild and decided to represent himself.

After a failed attempt at self-representation, Payne re-hired his attorney after lunch Thursday to finish out the remainder of the trial.

Both the prosecution and defense presented their closing arguments Thursday afternoon and left the jury to deliberate Friday morning.

Payne will be sentenced at a later date.