Ohio Diner Owner Cleared in 2007 Downtown Arson

September 10, 2010

A businessman has been found not guilty of setting two fires to his northwest Ohio restaurant, including one that burned down most of a downtown block.

A judge in Wauseon on Sept. 7 acquitted 40-year-old Charles Bryan Jr. of all charges, which included counts of aggravated arson, arson and insurance fraud.

Bryan wept when the verdicts in the bench trial were announced.

A small fire broke out in January 2007 at his restaurant in the town just west of Toledo. A much larger one three months later destroyed several buildings more than 100 years old.

Prosecutors had said there was strong circumstantial evidence against Bryan. A defense attorney argued that a disgruntled employee could have been the fire-starter.

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