Prosecutor sheds light on why arson suspect was indicted on misdemeanor instead of felony

Local woman is accused of trying to burn down her family mobile home with sleeping children inside.
Cary Ashby
Feb 7, 2013


Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said any possible arson case is a serious matter.

"We try to take anything (dealing) with fire very seriously," he said.

Most recently, a Huron County grand jury decided a first-degree felony of aggravated arson wasn't warranted for a Willard woman. She is accused of trying to burn down her family mobile home with sleeping children inside. Also there were the defendant's boyfriend and his brother.

Instead, grand jurors decided the charge should be a first-degree misdemeanor of criminal damaging against Amy S. Pridemore, 40, of 2787 S. Ohio 99. The case was transferred to Norwalk Municipal Court for prosecution. Court records indicate she was served the warrant Tuesday.

While the prosecutor said grand jury sessions are secret, he shared more information about the Jan. 10 incident, shedding light on why the grand jurors opted for lesser charge. His comments appeared in a story published in Thursday's Reflector. To read more, pick up a copy of that issue or subscribe to the e-paper for less than $1 per week and read it now.




I just can't get over the fact that she was going to burn EVERYTHING . Kids roommates pet. Ok.... but a vintage fridge couch and shag carpet what a hateful being!


Huron couty's finest justice system...what a joke


Actually, this time the system may have worked properly. Unless and until we get the whole story, we can't be sure that the grand jury didn't get it right. There are plenty of times when an overzealous prosecutor can get the indictment he wants, showboating and all, but there are also times when the grand jury says NO. Sometimes they will return a No Bill (no charge), or, as in this case, will modify the charge to what is actually appropriate. I doubt they would do this if she has sprayed gasoline all over the outside or inside of the trailer then lit it and ran. But, if she talked about it but only lit a small fire in a pan, sink, or a grill right next to the trailer, it hardly hits the level of a first degree felony. The grand jury system can be our last, best hope against over zealous prosecutors or in unusual circumstances. I'm not saying they got it wrong or right, but the fact that they lowered the charge to a misdemeanor in no ways is the same thing as a slap on the wrist from a lenient judge. Let's wait and see what actually comes out before we start knocking people who are not professionals, like lawyers and judges, but a group of our peers, who have to look out for all of us, and not their career wins and losses.


I thought that the only thing that burns faster than a trailer is a bale of hay! Silly me!


What about child endangerment!!??