Guilty Pleas Expected Soon in Local Arson Case

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

800,000 square feet--what was once the Sparton Electronics warehouse....gone.

And now, two teenagers ready to take the blame and plead guilty to arson. Family and friends watched Wednesday morning as 19-year-old Jeffrey Koziol and 18-year-old Tyler Wirebaugh waived their rights to a preliminary exam.

"After they plead guilty and we lock in their guilty pleas then we are prepared to dismiss the charges against Mr. Caldwell and Mr. Levan," said Chief Assistant Prosecutor Mark Blumer.

That's because Cody Caldwell,18, and Shawn Michael Levan, 17 cooperated with investigators. But prosecutors say they were there.

"Either they actually assisted or they gave moral encouragement," Blumer said.

Regarding that decision, Blumer says sometimes you just have to make a deal with the devil, meaning the only significant evidence will come from Caldwell and Levan's testimony.

Wirebaugh, Caldwell and Levan asked for reduction in bond. The judge did reduce Caldwell's bond and the prosecution would have supported the same for Levan had he testified under oath.

"Since that didn't happen today I don't want to lose them as witnesses if they decide they'd rather be in South Carolina than here," said Blumer.

He can't afford to given Koziol's criminal past. He was implicated in a 2009 arson as a juvenille.

"We're quite certain Mr. Koziol will burn down any building he stands still long enough to light a match in. He is a danger to the community," Blumer said.

It's a community that's one step closer to coming to terms with the largest fire in its history.

The next court date is May 3.

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