The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

November 1, 2012

Jury finds man guilty of first-degree arson

CLINTON — An Elwood man will spend as much as 25 years in prison for first-degree arson.

Ricky Hull Jr., 34, was found guilty Wednesday morning of starting a fire at his Elwood residence while manufacturing methamphetamine.

Throughout the trial, which began Monday, Hull did not deny that he was responsible for the fire that damaged the apartment at 1808 129th St., Elwood, on May 26. He did not deny that once the fire started he fled from the scene despite knowing that his girlfriend and her young child were in the duplex at the time.

Hull and his attorney Bruce Ingham did deny that he was involved with the manufacturing of meth. During closing statements on Wednesday, Ingham asked the jury to consider if the state had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Hull had been manufacturing meth. He questioned the items the state had found which they used as evidence, such as clippers and lithium batteries. He also pointed out that no one reported fumes related to manufacturing meth.

“There was no meth lab operation in that upstairs bathroom,” Ingham said.

Clinton County Attorney Mike Wolf reminded the jury of the pieces of evidence the state presented to the court. He went over the items found in the bathroom and near the residence that are related to the manufacturing of meth.

He reminded the jurors of Hull’s girlfriend’s testimony which put him in the bathroom right before the fire broke out. Coffee filters in the bathroom later tested positive for meth. Wolf reminded the jury that testimony stated that Hull and his girlfriend did not even have a coffee maker.

He asked the jury to use common sense and find Hull guilty of first-degree arson.

“Once it’s ready for market, the manufacturing process is over,” Ingham said.

Ingham maintained that just because meth was found, it is not proof of it being manufactured by Hull. He asked the jury not to base their decision on if they liked the defendant, but on whether the evidence showed he was guilty.

Jurors ultimately found Hull guilty and he was taken into custody and held in the Clinton County jail without bail. His sentencing has been set for Nov. 29.

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