Ian Mackenzie, one of the defendants charged with setting fire to the former location of Pinball Pete’s in October, will plead not guilty in a trial set for May 10 before Judge Melinda Morris.

The date was set in a brief pretrial conference this afternoon, after Mackenzie’s attorney and the prosecuting attorney approached the bench to speak off the record with Morris.

Mackenzie, 18, turned himself in to Ann Arbor Police shortly the Oct. 24 fire occurred in, which charred the South University building and caused minor damages to the neighboring University Towers apartment complex and Momo Tea.

Mackenzie and his co-defendant, Justin Arens, were both homeless at the time of the incident, and had previously stayed overnight in the vacant building. They had acquired other sleeping arrangements prior to the time of the fire.

The reason behind setting the fire remains unknown.

Mackenzie is charged with three counts of arson of real property at the cost of over $20,000, a reduced charge from the original count of arson of personal property.

The charge was changed at Mackenzie’s preliminary examination at Prosecutor Karen Field’s request. Field argued that the charge of arson of real property was more fitting because the building was abandoned at the time of the fire.

Mackenzie faces up to 10 years in prison if he is found guilty at his trial in May.

Mackenzie’s pretrial was initially scheduled for Jan. 4, but Morris allowed an adjournment until this afternoon. Mackenzie remains in custody, despite the announcement that he planned to submit a written request to post bond on Jan. 4.

Arens, 21, plead no contest to the three charges of arson at his pretrial on Jan. 11. He awaits sentencing on Feb. 22.

— Eugene Chung contributed to this report.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.