Accused arsonist bound over to circuit court

October 24, 2014


By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

HART — The case against the Hesperia village councilman who is accused of burning his restaurant last spring was bound over to 27th Circuit Court this week.

David Sean Pates, 32, a co-owner of the Hesperia House restaurant, turned himself in to authorities last month for allegedly setting his own restaurant on fire.

Pates was arrested in North Carolina, and surrendered to local authorities on the outstanding warrant Sept. 30. He bonded out of jail after posting 10 percent of a $25,000 bond.

Pates is being charged with third-degree arson, which is a 10-year felony, and preparing to burn real property, a five-year felony.

The OCSO issued a two-count felony warrant for Pates at the end of August for allegedly committing arson to the restaurant last April.

The restaurant, which is still standing, has not been open for business since the alleged arson occurred, the night of April 29, said Lt. Craig Mast of the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office. Hesperia House is located at 205 S. Division St. in the village limits.

“It was deemed that both fires were not naturally occurring,” Mast said. “There was no link of connection between the two fires.” There was a time difference of a few hours between the two fires, he said.

Investigators immediately became suspicious of the blaze, because there were two separate fires in a hallway area inside the building, Mast said. The alleged arson was investigated by Deputy Jeff Brown, a fire expert for the Oceana County Fire Investigation Team, as well as experts for the restaurant’s insurance company.

The restaurant sustained “considerable smoke damage,” Mast said, and no injuries occurred from the blaze.

According to the Oceana County Directory, Pates was appointed last November to a partial term on the council that expires in November of 2016, and he will be up for re-election on the upcoming Nov. 4 ballot. A call to the Hesperia Village Hall Friday afternoon, Oct. 25, confirmed that he remains on the council.

Pates is scheduled for a pretrial Nov. 10 at 10 a.m., circuit court personnel said.

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