August 30, 2014

Elyria
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Man who started LCCC fire sentenced to 5 years in prison

Drew Mann entered the court to plea in the LCCC fire in 2009, in Judge Mark Betleski court on Sep. 16.   CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

Drew Mann enters the court to plea in the LCCC fire in 2009, in Judge Mark Betleski court on Sep. 16. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

ELYRIA – Drew Manns hung his head and sobbed as Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Mark Betleski sentenced him today to five years in prison for starting a Feb. 18, 2009, fire that caused more than $8.4 million in damage to Lorain County Community College.

“Oh my God,” Manns said as some members of his family broke down behind him.

Manns, 29, had said earlier in the hearing that he never meant to start the fire, which began in the tunnels running beneath the campus.

He said he had gone to the college for his GED class early the day of the fire because of an argument with his stepfather. Manns said when his teacher arrived she became upset with him for getting there before him, so he went down in the tunnels to smoke a cigarette.

When he realized he needed to get to class, Manns said he tossed the cigarette and didn’t know about the fire until the campus filled with smoke.

Manns’ attorneys, family and a mental health expert had tried to persuade Betleski not to send Manns to prison, arguing instead for house arrest and strong probation. They pointed to Manns’ mental health problems – he suffered brain damage while in the womb because of an anti-acne drug his mother was taking – as the cause of his impulse control problems.

But Assistant County Prosecutor Laura Dezort said that while she was sympathetic to Manns’ plight, that didn’t absolve him of responsibility. She also questioned whether Manns’ description of the fire as accidental was accurate.

Following the hearing, Manns’ attorney Jay Milano said the fact that there exists no place for his client to go for treatment is a tragedy.

“He’s paying a price for something he essentially had no control over,” Milano said.

Read Saturday’s Chronicle for more on this story.

  • LiberalsRMental

    Liberals always like to shift the blame to anything other than themselves ! He got off easy ! He put Fire Fighters life’s in jeopardy and risked the life’s of many innocent people ! I would have given you 20 years !

    • Zen Grouch

      **I would have given you 20 years !…**

      …in a far away and wonderful world, where you stand in judgement of people alllll day long!

      • Zen Douche

        Yes but you’re a douchebag.

    • Michael

      and a mere $8.4M of damage…

    • Zen Douche

      I like your world where everything is so Black and White. Except the part where people like you and Zen Grouch dis on firefighters in a different column at same time you write this. But as a Republican I guess you’re used to confusing truth with your own small minded unimportant opinions.
      See how that sounds. Bigoted and uninformed, just like you.

  • Mary Kathleen Donovan Springow

    Ok, so what do we do with people like this? He’s got documented problems that are verifiable. We have to deal with it….how?

    • Noshahr Canal Legend

      We put them in prison. What else should we do?

  • Bob Sweatt

    Ok since when can you SMOKE in that tunnel?? If it is the tunnel I am thinking of. it is the one the connects to buildling so you don’t have to go outside to get from one building to the next.

    • Don Grantzki

      And this would serve as a viable storage area?
      In any event the kid has 5 years to work on his self improvement.

    • jz

      I,m pretty sure there are no smoking signs. I was there as a student in the early 70′s and remember could not smoke there. Also remember it would seem dumb to want to light up down there.

  • Bob Sweatt

    “He’s paying a price for something he essentially had no control over,” Milano said.

    With all the behavioral drugs we have now. There is nothing this man can take?????

  • Dirgni

    Looks like Eddie Munster’s delinquent cousin

  • Zen Grouch

    **“He’s paying a price for something he essentially had no control over,” Milano said.**

    If this person has no control over his actions, then his guardians are 100% responsible for his actions and should reimburse the college the 8.4 million smack-a-roos, or be dragged into court kicking and screaming that they aren’t responsible either.

    • Ted

      …in a far away and wonderful world, where you stand in judgement of people alllll day long!

      • Zen Grouch

        If you’re comparing me to the person (who chose a name to show himself/herself a highly judgmental a-hole right out of the box) I used the above words on, who was passing judgment on how to -punish- a person, you are missing a huge point.

        And that point is, there is a difference in judging a person as a human being, so as to select the proper way to punish this person for their actions, -and- to determine responsibility for stand alone actions, not taking into consideration the person’s intent or any sort of punitive punishment.

        The lawyer said the kid isn’t responsible for his actions, due to mental defect. It was known (according to this attorney) that this person had no control over his actions.

        If it was known that this person was a danger to himself and others, then others would legally need to take RESPONSIBILITY for his actions, and keep him from harming others.

        If they failed in this responsibility, then they would be responsible for coughing up the 8.4 million bucks it took to correct the damages done.

        Does this explain things for you, you articulate S.O.B.? I have a feeling you have difficulty in digesting anything larger than the average Republican sound bite. –example of judging a person.

  • Joe Smith

    He looks like an original series Klingon

    • beety

      If he and the food stamp fraud beast had babies together …. that would be a sight!

      • Joe Smith

        A Klingon would not risk his honor to tap that.

    • Bob Sweatt

      A Star Trek reference. Wow you are a geek. LOL.

      But you never know. Maybe this douche and the foodstamp broad are how the Kilngon race got started. LOL

      • Joe Smith

        Things that make you go Hmmmmm

  • Jamie Smith

    Mr. Mann’s is clearly disabled with a mental health/DD illness. This kid made numerous horrible choices in his life and he have being reading about him for years in the CT. It sad because Prison isn’t the solution. If he is telling the truth the fire was a Accident.

    • Pam Nichols

      Thank you for not being rude about drew i tried getting him help being his deceased sons mom he really ís a sweet guy

      • beety

        So… you thought a mentally disabled guy was the perfect choice to have children with? Are you mentally disabled yourself? Not trying to be mean… just wondering? I’m sorry you two lost your son.

        • Pam Nichols

          No i have no mental disablites i hold down a full time job etc and i believe in second chances he was a great dad he was there for me and our baby when myself almost died and when at our ns bedside threw it all

          • beety

            Do you mean no, I do not have mental disabilities, I believe, when I almost died, and at our son’s bedside through it all ?

    • grannyof6

      Drew Mann’s has NEVER told the TRUTH about anything since he was 10 years old! That fire was no accident, just ask the City of Grafton where he set the hardware store on fire years ago. He’s smart enough to light a match! Other kids with “birth defects” are not arsonist, he’s just thinks he never has done anything wrong if and when caught he uses that “poor me” excuse! He’s actually so pitiful it’s sad.

  • ekwaykway

    Eddie Munster

  • DonMega

    He better learn how to fight.

    • beety

      One good hit and his left ear might slide all the way off…