Man charged with arson in school fire - WNEM TV 5

Man charged with arson in school fire

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Source: WNEM Source: WNEM
Source: Midland County Jail, File: 2008 Source: Midland County Jail, File: 2008

A Midland man has been charged in connection with the 2012 arson fire of Northeast Middle School in Midland.

Firefighters were called to the building on East Sugnet Road in February of that year after a fire alarm went off and smoke was seen coming from the building.

Authorities told TV5's Jessica Maki a teacher showed up early for work and discovered the fire in the classroom. Maki also learned the fire began in the ceiling, above the classroom.

Now Geoffrey K. Rettig, Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Midland County  reports that Casey Whittlesey, 22, has been charged with three felony counts including arson in the third degree, breaking and entering a building, and preparation to burn.

Investigators said Whittlesey was identified by DNA analysis of blood found at the scene. They were matched with the DNA profile of Whittlesey collected following his felony conviction for a drug crime in Gratiot County.

“We’re  pleased that combined investigative efforts of the Midland Police Department, the Midland Fire Department and the Michigan State Police Crime Laboratory were successful in making the identification of the alleged arsonist.   Since 2012, this case has remained a high priority for the investigators and the Midland County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, given the serious nature of the crime, and the threat to public safety these crimes created.  It will be our intent to see that justice is done and the responsible party is held accountable for these offenses,” said Rettig.

The fire caused more than $127,000 in damage.

A pretrial conference before the Circuit Court has been set for August 25, 2016.

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