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Ohio State suspect released

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  • Ohio State suspect released

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A man suspected of starting a fire that
    killed five college students in a house near Ohio State University
    was released from jail Monday after prosecutors dropped charges
    against him.
    Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said the aggravated murder and arson
    charges against 20-year-old Robert Lucky Patterson could be refiled
    at any time.
    "Mr. Patterson is not cleared as a suspect. He can be
    re-arrested, indicted, tried, convicted," he said.
    Detectives need more time to pursue leads and build a stronger
    case, O'Brien said.
    "We have requested further investigation," he said. "There
    must be sufficient evidence for a unanimous jury decision. You only
    get one shot."
    O'Brien said last week that he questioned the charges after
    reviewing a videotaped police interview with Patterson and
    interviewing five witnesses whose statements would be critical to
    gaining an indictment.
    O'Brien would not discuss specific evidence Monday.
    Patterson was arrested Aug. 1 and charged with five counts of
    aggravated murder, three counts of attempted aggravated murder and
    nine counts of aggravated arson in the April 13 fire that killed
    two Ohio State students and three from Ohio University.
    Columbus police have said Patterson made incriminating
    statements, and that they had witnesses who placed him in the area
    on the night of the fire, stealing car stereos.
    Police said Patterson got into a confrontation with someone in a
    parking lot behind the three-story rooming house, where about 80
    people were celebrating the 21st birthday of one victim.
    Authorities said Patterson set fire to a couch on the front porch.
    Victims' families accept O'Brien's decision, said Dean Knisley,
    a spokesman for the family of Christine Wilson, one of the five
    killed.
    "They were pretty much in agreement there wasn't enough there
    at this point in time," Knisley said Monday. "It's better not to
    go forward than take your chances."
    Monday was the deadline for seeking an indictment. Under Ohio
    law, prosecutors have 10 days to indict a suspect who has been
    arrested on a felony charge.
    Patterson was denied bail last week after a detective said he
    threatened to set fire to the homes of at least two potential
    witnesses.
    When asked whether he was concerned about the threats, O'Brien
    said police would address "any perceived problems."
    Patterson's father, Ron Patterson, said at the court on Monday
    that his son is "a little stupid teenager" but not a criminal.
    He said he is sure his son did not start the fire but might know
    who did.
    Others killed in the fire were Alan Schlessman, 21; Kyle Raulin
    20; Andrea K. Dennis, 20; and Erin M. DeMarco, 19. Schlessman and
    Raulin attended Ohio State. The women went to Ohio University.

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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