Arson defendant appears in court

Cary Ashby • Sep 26, 2013 at 1:07 PM

An accused arsonist must post a $100,000 bond before being released from the Huron County Jail.

Former Plymouth resident Christopher A. Barber, 18, of Shelby, is charged with aggravated arson, which is punishable by three to 11 years in prison. The charge is in connection with a June 25 apartment fire investigated by the Willard Police Department.

"He set a sheet of paper and (some) bedding on fire," Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said.

A cat died in the fire that caused about $100,000 worth of damage.

"Four families could have lost their homes," Leffler said.

Huron County Public Defender David Longo said he understands this is a serious charge, but noted nobody was injured.

Barber entered a "not guilty" plea to the first-degree felony.

Based on a conversation with the defendant's family, Longo said he believes there are serious mental health issues that could be a mitigating factor. He requested he have the possibility of entering a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity later.

Barber's trial is set for Nov. 5.

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