Restaurant arsonist sentenced to jail, $46,000 restitution

May 27, 2015
David Pates, at left, with his attorney, Ryan Kacel.

David Pates, at left, with his attorney, Matthew Ryan Kacel.

By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

HART — The Hesperia House co-owner and former Hesperia village councilman who burned his restaurant over a year ago was sentenced to serve 90 days up front of a nine-month discretionary jail sentence Wednesday, May 27, in 27th Circuit Court, and must pay over $46,000 in restitution to the restaurant’s insurance company.

David Sean Pates, 33, pleaded “no contest” to third-degree arson last month. In exchange for his plea, one count of arson — preparing to burn real property was dismissed.

Pates, who has been free on a $25,000/10 percent cash/surety bond, was ordered to report to the Oceana County Jail, June 10, at 9 a.m. after his children are done with school for the summer.

Pates’ attorney, Matthew Ryan Kacel, asked Judge Anthony Monton to delay his client’s jail sentence, because Pates has three young children who he cares for by himself. Kacel described Pates as a “family man” and a “hard worker.” The attorney said, “He has never been convicted of anything in his entire life,” although “he screwed up” when he committed arson.

“I’m not going to blame anyone else,” Pates said to Monton. “I’ve lost pretty much everything with this ordeal, my business, my home, except my three children. I want to be able to start over with my children and my career.”

Kacel had requested that his client serve his sentence on a tether as opposed to jail, but Monton denied it. “Your attorney asked for a tether, and I’m not going to do that,” the judge said.

Pates was also ordered to two years probation and was given credit for one day served in jail.

He was initially facing a maximum of 10 years in prison for third-degree arson and five years for preparing to burn real property.

Pates was arrested last fall in North Carolina, and then surrendered to the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office on an outstanding warrant.

Investigators at the fire scene immediately became suspicious of the blaze, because there were two separate fires in a hallway area inside the building, and there was a time difference of a few hours between the two fires.

The 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. Restaurant staff and management were interviewed during the investigation.

The popular restaurant is still standing, and no one was injured in the fires.

 

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