Alleged arsonist pleads innocent

FAIRMONT – The Fairmont man accused of starting a fire at Lincoln School last year pleaded innocent Monday; a two-day trial is pending.

Timothy Jude Brickner, 20, pleaded innocent in three criminal case files he faces. In addition to a felony charge of arson, he also faces a case involving alleged terroristic threats made on Facebook against a Fairmont police officer, and a 2011 misdemeanor case for reporting a false crime.

“We are entering not guilty pleas in all matters,” said Brickner’s attorney, Ryan Wood.

Martin County District Attorney Terry Viesselman requested a two-day trial for the arson case, and a one-day trial for the remaining cases.

An attempt by Wood to dismiss the 2011 case was denied by Martin County Judge Robert Walker earlier this year.

During a hearing in February, Wood stated he was looking into whether an excessive use of caffeine could have affected Brickner’s thoughts and behaviors.

In the arson case, a fire was started on the stage area of Lincoln School on April 27. Two witnesses reported seeing Brickner in the area around 9:30 a.m., when state fire marshals believe the fire was set.

The fire triggered alarms and an automatic sprinkler system, which quickly doused the blaze, but also triggered the evacuation of students and a daycare that is in the building. All were able to escape without injury.

In October, Brickner was charged with felony counts of terroristic threats and tampering with a witness, after allegedly making posts on his Facebook page addressing the investigating officer, stating that if he was convicted of arson, there would be “a body count.” When questioned by police, Brickner said it was not meant as a personal threat.

Dates for the three trials have yet to be determined.