EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSJudge Denies Plea From Former Logan Councilman
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Taisha Walker
Web Producer: Bethany Simmons
Reported: Oct. 16, 2013 3:34 PM EDT
Updated: Oct. 16, 2013 3:58 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
A Logan County man accused of carrying out an arson scheme to gain insurance money did not make a guilty plea Wednesday, as expected. James Glick appeared in U.S. District Court Wednesday.
Glick was indicted on mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy and arson charges stemming from a February 2012 fire in Logan County. The former Logan city councilman is accused of burning a vacant building on Stratton Street, located across the street from 314 Steakhouse, a business he owns. The indictment claims Glick bought the vacant building, set it on fire and collected $1 million in insurance with the help of four other men.
Although Glick was ready to enter a guilty plea to the combination of arson and fraud charges, U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston said he was not comfortable accepting Glick’s plea. Judge Johnson said the prosecution and defense must come to an agreement on the interstate commerce element outlined in the indictment. The issue still up for debate is whether the burned Logan building is classified as a commercial or residential property.
If the building was in fact commercial property it would fall under the interstate statute -- which comes with a mandatory seven year sentence. If it is deemed a residential property, Glick could be tried by a jury of his peers because the case would be considered an arson case.
Judge Johnston said he could not issue a ruling until both parties could agree on the interstate commerce element.
The continuation of Glick’s plea hearing has been put on hold until the defense and prosecution hashes out that issue within the next week. The plea hearing for Shawn Simon, who faces obstruction charges for the same Logan fire, was also postponed for the same reason.
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