Sunday, August 3, 2003

Bond hearing postponed for suspect in fatal OSU house fire

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - Looking disheveled and pale, the man charged with starting the fire that killed five college students in a house near Ohio State University made a brief court appearance Saturday.

A bond hearing for Robert Lucky Patterson was delayed at the request of prosecutors, who said they wanted to present witnesses and use the prosecutor who specializes in arson cases. Franklin County Municipal Judge Teresa Liston rescheduled the arraignment for 9 a.m. Monday.

Patterson, 20, was charged Friday 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.

Instead of wearing a corrections jumpsuit like other inmates on Saturday's docket, Patterson wore a green sleeveless tunic that fell to his knees and attached at the shoulders with Velcro.

Corrections personnel and sheriff's officials declined to comment about Patterson's attire.

Patterson was expressionless as he looked alternately from the judge to his feet.

At the end of the hearing, he touched his fingers to his lips as he looked at a man and woman in the front row. The couple quickly left the courtroom and declined to be interviewed.

Through his court-appointed attorney, Mitch Adel, Patterson declined an interview request by The Associated Press before being returned to the Franklin County jail.

Prosecutors said Friday they will ask that he be held without bond. Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien didn't return messages seeking comment Saturday.

Patterson set fire to a couch on the porch of a three-story house after stealing radios from cars in the neighborhood, police said.

Killed in the fire were Alan Schlessman, 21, of Perkins Township near Sandusky; Kyle Raulin, 20, of West Chester; Andrea K. Dennis, 20, of Madeira; Erin M. DeMarco, 19, of Canton; and Christine Wilson, 19, of the Columbus suburb of Dublin. Schlessman and Raulin attended Ohio State. Dennis, DeMarco and Wilson went to Ohio University.

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