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Arson, Attempted Murder Trial Delayed

By Ellis Codjoe, November 14, 2017

The trial of an Ottumwa man accused of trying to light a family member on fire has been delayed until next year.

Ottumwa Police and Firefighters were called to a home on Wabash Avenue early on June 16th.

Prosecutors say 43 year old Shane Ryan started a fire in the home while two other people were inside. One of the occupants was doused in an accelerant before the fire was started.

Both occupants escaped the home without injury, however, Ryan was hurt when he jumped off a porch roof onto the top of a car.

Ryan’s charges include two counts of Attempted Murder, First Degree Arson, First Degree Burglary, Stalking (Violation of a protective order), going armed with intent and two counts of Assault while Participating in a Felony. The most serious charges are class B felonies, punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

Ryan had been scheduled to go on trial on December 12th, however, on Monday District Court Judge Randy Degeest ordered a continuance for the trial.

Ryan will now appear before a Wapello County Jury beginning on March 13th, 2018.

In other area court cases, Mike Heady Senior is scheduled to go on trial on January 9th, 2018 on charges including First Degree Arson and Assault on a Police Officer.

Venhure Tsegay is scheduled to go on trial for charges of First Degree Murder on March 6th. Tsegay is accused of shooting 16 year old Christian Madueno, who died approximately one month later at an Iowa City hospital.

The Third Degree Sexual Abuse trial of Benvenuto Lopez Alonzo has also been delayed.

Ottumwa Public Defender Allen Cook has been appointed to represent Jaron Purham, one of two men accused of Killing Kedarie Johnson, a 16 year old LGBTQ Burlington High School Student in March, 2016. Cook was appointed by District Judge Michael Schilling to represent Purham after the Des Moines County Public Defender’s Office asked to withdraw because of numerous conflicts of interest.

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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