|Woman sentenced in arson of her Rossford business|
|Written by PETER KUEBECK/Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Friday, 23 August 2013 11:12|
A woman convicted of attempting to burn down her Rossford cleaning business will serve just shy of four years in prison.
Patricia Groves, 58, was sentenced Friday in the court of Wood County Common Pleas Judge Alan Mayberry.
“Your past life on the straight and narrow does not excuse your behavior in this court,” said Mayberry before he pronounced sentence.
Groves was convicted by a jury in June on charges of aggravated arson and insurance fraud in connection with the Dec. 20, 2011, fire at her Downey Daisy Home Services business on North Dixie Highway in Rossford.
It was later discovered that Groves was drinking vodka from a fast food cup while hearing the verdict of the jury, which is against court rules. She was not in custody at the time.
She had since held in the Wood County jail on $50,000 bond.
Prior to sentencing, Groves’ attorney, Ann Baronas-Jonke, told the judge that Groves “does have some mental health issues” and “problems with substances” that have been “undiagnosed and untreated up to this point.”
She further asked that the court appoint counsel for Groves for the purpose of an appeal.
Prosecuting Attorney Aram Ohanian said that throughout the proceedings Groves had not taken responsibility for her actions, blaming it all on others.
He further pointed out that the arson itself was “incredibly dangerous” both to civilians and to first responders “who had to go down on their hands and knees” into the burning business and brave fumes from noxious chemicals that were present.
“The danger in this type of situation is extreme. And what was the motivation? Money,” he said.
Ohanian also took note of Groves’ alcohol use in the court, and her reported hoarding of medication while in the jail.
While Baronas-Jonke had initially said that Groves would not offer a statement, Groves spoke in her own defense following Ohanian, saying “I do take responsibility. I’m responsible for everything that happened.”
“I’m sorry,” she said.
Mayberry stated that the arson was not Groves’ first experience with fire – there were previous fires, he said, at a cabin and at her residence – and said he was disturbed that she had not taken responsibility until today.
“Even in the face of evidence such as gasoline on your boots and on your clothes, you continued to maintain your innocence and point the finger and blame others.”
“I don’t remember anyone using a trial like a cocktail hour like you did,” said Mayberry, noting that Groves’ actions with her cup of vodka earlier this summer forced a change to be made in court policy.
In the end, Groves was sentenced for 36 months in prison for the aggravated arson charge, and to 11 months for insurance fraud. She is additionally to pay just over $2,035 in restitution.
|Last Updated on Friday, 23 August 2013 11:31|
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