Drifter Charged With Murder By Arson In April Blaze

Police Suspect He Started Fire In Next-door Bar

May 12, 1991|By Maria Archangelo | Maria Archangelo,Staff writer

WESTMINSTER — A Carroll grand jury has indicted a drifter on charges of first-degree murder and arson in the apartment fire that killed a city man lastmonth.

Charles Ray "Chicken Charlie" Ogline, 42, also is charged with willful and malicious destruction in connection with the April 24 fire at 88 W. Main St.

Carvin Williams "Big Joe" Hanna, 49, died in the early morning blaze that left 12 people homeless and caused an estimated $100,000 damage.

It took 75 firefighters more than two hours to control the fire.

If convicted on the murder charge, Ogline could face the deathpenalty.

The grand jury handed down the indictment Thursday afterhearing the testimony of city police and fire investigators.

Ogline first was charged in the case a few hours after the blaze.

Police and fire investigators originally believed Ogline set the fire at the apartment building in retaliation for being told by the landlord to stay away from the property.

After interviews with people in the neighborhood, police now say he may have set fire to a couch that was against the wall of Ernie's Place -- the bar next door to the apartment building. A week before the fire, Ogline was asked to stay awayfrom the bar because bartenders had accused him of

taking tips from tables, police said.

Police believe Ogline may have set the fire to burn down Ernie's Place, which sustained about $85,000 worth of damage, said manager Nancy Fox.

The bar re-opened last Saturday, Fox said.

The grand jury indictment replaces the original charges placed against Ogline by Westminster City Police.

The original charges against Ogline were first-degree murder, murder by arson and reckless endangerment.

Deputy State's Attorney Edward M. Ulsch said Friday that his office went before the grand jury to determine if therewas probable cause to take the case to court.

After someone is arrested and charged with a serious crime -- such as murder or rape -- the case must go before a grand jury or a judge in a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to bring the case to trial.

In a grand jury hearing, jurors hear only the state's side of the case.

As of late Friday, Ogline was being held at the Carroll County Detention Center without bail.

The county Department of Social Services and the Salvation Army are collecting clothing, food and furniture for residents left homeless by the fire.

Donationscan be dropped off at the office at 10 Distillery Drive or in a collection box at Kmart on Englar Drive.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.