- Jake Fromm/Daily
By Stephanie Steinberg, Daily News Editor
Published December 16, 2009
Two men arrested in connection with the fire that gutted an abandoned building on South University Avenue appeared in court Wednesday.
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Ian MacKenzie — a suspect in the Oct. 24 fire at the former location of Pinball Pete’s — waived his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday afternoon in Washtenaw County District Court.
MacKenzie, 18, and Justin Arens, 21 — the two suspects who are both believed to be homeless — have been arrested and charged with arson of personal property for the fire that charred the building and caused the evacuation of more than 600 residents living in University Towers, the apartment complex next to the building.
MacKenzie, who turned himself in to the Ann Arbor Police Department, is pleading not guilty to the three charges in connection with the fire.
During the hearing, prosecutor Karen Field, moved to annul MacKenzie’s first count of arson of personal property, saying it is covered under count three, which is arson of real property.
Judge Charles Pope dismissed the count and scheduled a pretrial conference for Jan. 4 at 1:30 in front of Judge Melinda Morris. MacKenzie is still held on a $50,000 bond.
Lauren Brown, who is representing Arens, appeared with Arens before Pope for his preliminary hearing scheduled for today at 1 p.m. However, Brown requested for additional time for further investigation of the case.
The judge granted a two-week extension for Arens case and moved the preliminary examination to Dec. 30 at 1 p.m. at Washtenaw County District Court.
Arens is held on $100,000 bond. He has been previously convicted of home invasion and retail fraud.