2nd Man Accused In Arson

May 19, 1991|By Maria Archangelo | Maria Archangelo,Staff writer

WESTMINSTER — A 44-year-old city man is being held without bail in connection withan arson fire that killed a resident of a Main Street apartment building.

John Woodward, also a resident of the apartment house at 88 Main St. that was destroyed by fire April 24, was arrested late Thursday and charged with setting the blaze.

Woodward is the second person to be charged in connection with the fire.

Another man, Charles Ray "Chicken Charlie" Ogline, 42, wasindicted May 9 on charges of first-degree murder, arson and willful and malicious destruction.

Woodward faces the same charges, said Westminster City Police Lt. Dean Brewer, who is investigating the case.

Carvin Williams "Big Joe" Hanna, 49, died in the early-morning blaze which caused $100,000 damage to the building and left 12 people homeless. An additional $85,000 damage was caused to the bar next door, Ernie's Place, which reopened May 4.

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

If the men are convicted onthe murder charge, they could face life in prison or the death penalty.

Ogline first was charged in the case only hours after the blaze ripped through the building.

Woodward became a suspect after Brewer, Deputy State Fire Marshal Frank Rauschenberg and Deputy State's Attorney Edward M. Ulsch questioned several witnesses at 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. Later theories said Ogline was mad because he was restricted from Ernie's Place after bartenders accused him of stealing tips, police said.

Police would not say why they thought Woodward -- who suffered from smoke inhalation during thefire -- set the blaze.

Brewer said the charges against Woodward do not mean the charges against Ogline will be dropped.

"We haven'tdetermined if they were working together," Brewer said.

The detective, who said the investigation into the fire is continuing, added he does not expect to make any additional arrests. He said he is looking into "unusual circumstances" surrounding the fire but declined to elaborate.

A bail-review hearing for Woodward was scheduled in District Court Thursday, but it was postponed so he could get an attorney.

As of late Friday, Ogline and Woodward still were being held atthe Carroll County Detention Center without bail on the murder charge.

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call Brewer at 848-4646.

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