By MORGAN MANNS
Retribution is the alleged motive surrounding a Memorial Day arson that killed two people and injured another at a South Poplar Street residence.
According to Fostoria Police Det. Shilo Frankart, Shey L. Weiker, 31, one of three suspects charged in the fire, allegedly threw a lit railroad flare toward the porch of 614 S. Poplar St. May 26 because the owner of the home, Danny Joe Marker Jr., 48, had supposedly committed a sex crime against her son.
“(Weiker) allegedly accused (Marker) of raping her son,” Frankart said, adding that Weiker had been married to Marker’s brother, Shane. “She had reported it and the situation was under investigation; but, it wasn’t happening fast enough for her.”
Marker perished in the fire.
Frankart said he gathered information through his interrogations of Weiker and the other suspects, Charles V. Schaeffer, 44, 151 Taft Blvd., and Timothy D. Hall, 20, 126 Findlay St., to present to Judge Mark Repp during preliminary hearings Tuesday in Tiffin-Fostoria Municipal Court.
Both Weiker and Schaeffer waived their rights for preliminary hearings.
During Hall’s hearing, Frankart said Weiker was expressing her anger to multiple people on the porch of her 151 Taft Blvd. residence, at which time Hall was present during a 15-minute conversation.
“They talked about starting a fire without leaving fingerprints or getting caught,” Frankart said.
The original plan was to light the house on fire with tissues, according to Frankart. But upon hearing the conversation, Schaeffer then allegedly instructed Weiker how to use a road flare, which was stored in the residence.
Frankart said Hall changed his story multiple times throughout the interrogation but ultimately, he stated he walked with Weiker from Taft Boulevard to the west side of South Poplar Street, allegedly “trying to talk her out of it.”
He then stated that Weiker walked across the street to the Marker residence and came back, saying the lighting in the house scared her. She walked across the street to come back a second time, saying that an outside motion light scared her. The third time she went across the street, Hall said he left her.
They met up again on South Main Street near Taft Boulevard, at which time Hall stated Weiker said, “I did it.”
Weiker had with her a fusee top, or the top of a road flare, which is sandpaper material that is used to light the flare much like a match, according to Frankart.
“Hall stated he took (the fusee top) and tossed it down a storm drain,” he said. “Officers with the Fostoria Police Department later found it (in the drain).”
The fusee top is consistent with the flare used to start the fire at the house, Frankart added.
According to Frankart, Hall confessed to being involved in the conversation about starting a fire, seeing Weiker with the fusee, walking her to the area of 614 S. Poplar St., and meeting up with her after the fire was started.
Hall is facing charges of complicity to murder on the basis of “aiding in destroying evidence,” Frankart said. He is also facing charges on four counts of complicity to commit aggravated arson, two counts of complicity to commit aggravated murder, and one count of complicity to tampering with evidence.
Although his attorney, Clifford Spohn, requested a reduction in Hall’s bond, stating it was “excessive,” Judge Repp continued it at $2 million with 10 percent allowed.
In addition to Marker, Tara Lynn Vance, 44, and six dogs also perished in the fire. Dana Weatherall, 49, survived the blaze and was treated in the burn unit at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, Toledo. She was initially transported to ProMedica Fostoria Community Hospital and then taken by air ambulance to Toledo.
As of Tuesday, Frankart said Weatherall is alive and in the Intensive Care Unit at the Toledo hospital. No further information was available regarding her condition as Frankart further evaluates the interview he conducted with her.
Fostoria firefighters responded to the house fire at the South Poplar Street residence at about 3 a.m. According to Interim Fire Chief Warren Digby, the initial call came in via 911 at 3:05 a.m. advising of people trapped inside the home.
The suspects were taken into custody the afternoon of the fire after officers executed a search at 151 Taft Blvd., at which time they also collected various items as evidence.
Schaeffer is being held on four counts of complicity to commit aggravated arson, two counts of complicity to commit aggravated murder and one count of complicity to commit attempted aggravated murder.
His attorney, Mark Klepatz asked Judge Repp to consider “reducing quite a bit” of Schaeffer’s bond, which was set at $1.5 million with 10 percent allowed, stating that he would not be able to pay such a high price.
He assured that Schaeffer would not run, pointing out Schaeffer’s consistency to show up for his past court cases — which exceed 50, according to court records.
In a failed attempt of pleading, Schaeffer then pushed back his chair and, with his right knee on the ground and hands folded in a pleading gesture, added, “Please?”
The gesture flustered those present in the court room, at first causing concerned attention. Schaeffer’s bond was continued.
James Ruhlen, Weiker’s attorney, attempted to decrease her bond of $2 million with 10 percent allowed, as well.
He argued that bond is set to “guarantee the appearance” of the suspect and “not to punish” them, adding that Weiker’s only source of income is through child support and she, too, would not be able to afford a bond of that price.
Judge Repp again continued bond as “no indication of guilt,” rather to “preserve the case,” adding that there are sufficient factors supporting the bond.
Weiker is being held on four counts of aggravated arson, two counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted aggravated murder and one count of tampering with evidence.
Frankart, along with the Seneca County Prosecutor’s Office and the State Fire Marshal’s Office, are spearheading the investigation into the alleged arson.
Frankart said he will present the cases against the three suspects to the Seneca County Grand Jury on June 11.
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