Alleged arsonist appears in court

FAIRMONT – A 20-year-old Fairmont man facing charges in three separate cases – including arson charges related to a fire at Lincoln School – was in court Monday.

Arraignments are still pending in two of the three cases against Timothy Jude Brickner.

On Monday, Brickner’s attorney, Ryan Wood, requested more time to research whether a heavy influence of caffeine may have affected Brickner’s behavior in a case dating back to October 2011.

That case consists of misdemeanor counts of filing a false police report and disorderly conduct.

The other two cases, from 2012, are felonies: one for arson, in which Brickner is accused of attempting to set fire to Lincoln School on April 26 of last year, and a third case filed from last fall for allegedly making threats against a Fairmont police officer on Facebook.

In September, Wood filed a petition for dismissal of the 2011 case but it was denied by Judge Robert Walker last month.

The complaint states that Brickner made a fake Facebook profile and used it to exchange threats with his real profile. Brickner then allegedly claimed the “man” in the fake profile committed suicide in front of him.

The story set off several rumors at Martin County West schools, and school officials contacted the Martin County Sheriff’s Office to investigate.

Brickner is reported to have stuck to his story when questioned by police, but after investigators were able to prove the story was false, Brickner allegedly admitted he had made it up.

In the petition for dismissal, Wood argued that Brickner’s story was protected under free speech. But Walker cited state law in his ruling: “Whoever informs a law enforcement officer that a crime has been committed … knowing that it is false and intending that the officer shall act in reliance upon it, is guilty of a misdemeanor.”

On Monday, the arraignment for the 2011 case and the arson case were pushed back to April after Wood requested more time to research if caffeine use could have influenced Brickner’s behaviors.

“Caffeine was a factor at that time,” Wood said.

The next hearings for all three cases will be April 1.