Hesperia House arson case set for trial

February 23, 2015
Pates

Pates

By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

HART — The case against the Hesperia House co-owner and former Hesperia village councilman who is accused of burning his restaurant almost a year ago is set for trial in April.

David Sean Pates, 32, is scheduled for a jury trial April 8, Oceana County Prosecutor Joe Bizon told 27th Circuit Court Judge Anthony Monton in open court Monday morning, Feb. 23.  “We continue to try to negotiate this matter,” Bizon said. A final status conference is slated for April 2 at 9 a.m.

Pates was arrested last fall in North Carolina, and then surrendered to the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office on an outstanding warrant charging him with third-degree arson, which is a 10-year felony, and preparing to burn real property, a five-year felony.

Investigators immediately became suspicious of the blaze, because there were two separate fires in a hallway area inside the building.

The alleged arson was investigated by Deputy Jeff Brown, a fire expert for the Oceana County Fire Investigation Team, as well as experts for the restaurant’s insurance company, Argo Insurance Co. Argo hired a cause and origin fire inspector and a certified electrical engineer in fire analysis to assist in the investigation. Restaurant staff and management were interviewed during the investigation.

“It was deemed (May 9) that both fires were not naturally occurring,” OCSO Lt. Craig Mast previously said.  “There was no link of connection between the two fires.” There was a time difference of a few hours between the two fires.

The popular restaurant, which is still standing, has not been open for business since it burned. No one was injured in the fires.  

Pates is free on a $25,000/10 percent cash/surety bond, and he is being represented by attorney Matthew Ryan Kacel.

 

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