The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

December 5, 2012

‘Bula man linked to Park Haven fire set to plea

Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — A 27-year-old man faces up to five years in prison for his part in a methamphetamine fire at Park Haven Nursing Home, where his step-brother was killed in March.

Keith E. Bilbrey II of Ashtabula is set to plea Dec. 12 on a charge of complicity to aggravated arson, a first-degree felony, according to Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court records.

The plea hearing is set for 3 p.m. in Common Pleas Judge Ronald Vettel’s Courtroom. Attorney Hobart Shiflet is representing Bilbrey.

In addition to the arson charges, Bilbrey was arrested last summer in a sweeping drug bust. That bust, however, was not connected with the Park Haven fire that took the life of 31-year-old Shaun Warrens.

Bilbrey also will be sentenced Dec. 12 on that separate methamphetamine case, in which he was charged with illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs, a third-degree felony, according to court records.

He faces three years behind bars in that case, Ashtabula County Prosecutor Thomas Sartini said.

“The state is recommending five years (in prison) on the arson case and three years in the second (meth) to be served consecutively,” Sartini said. “We feel it is a good disposition of the case.”

Park Haven, 4533 Park Ave., closed within months of the fire after being found in violation of seven federal guidelines, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

The deficiencies, which included failure to provide smoke detectors and written plans for emergencies, were based on investigations at the facility, said Tessie Pollock, ODH spokeswoman.

The fire occurred at 8:37 p.m. March 4 in room 18 on the second floor, according to the Ashtabula Fire Department’s report.

Warrens died at the MetroHealth Burn Care Center. The death was ruled accidental, according to the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s report.

Four other people were hospitalized at Ashtabula County Medical Center after the fire, and two people treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.