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Lafleur, Pacheco hearings held

Thursday, November 6, 2008

ALTON -- An attorney hearing for Edward L. Lafleur was held Oct. 29 in Oregon County Associate Circuit Court before 37th Associate Circuit Judge Jo Beth Prewitt.

Lafleur, 57, of Indianapolis, Ind., was arraigned before Judge Prewitt Oct. 22. At that arraignment Lafleur was told by the judge that he would reappear Oct. 29 and should at that time have an attorney.

Lafleur did not stand before the judge but did have an attorney, Daniel T. Moore, of Poplar Bluff represent him. Judge Prewitt set a hearing to determine court proceedings for Lafleur for Nov. 5 at 9 a.m.

Lafleur has been charged with felony assault and involuntary manslaughter in connection with an accident that occurred just north of Thayer on Highway 63, Sept. 25.

Lafleur is charged with driving a 2005 Freightliner into a highway construction zone injuring Deborah Holloway and killing construction flagman Mikey Workman.

In other court activities, a preliminary hearing was held Oct. 29 for the man charged with starting the fire in the Oregon County Jail Sept. 6, 2007.

Nicholas C. Pacheco, 19, of Thayer, is charged with felony arson and felony murder in the second degree.

He is alleged to have started a fire at the jail and as a result of that fire, Jesse Johnson, 17, of Mammoth Spring died from smoke inhalation.

Judge Prewitt found there was enough evidence to bound Pacheco over for trial. He will appear before 37th District Circuit Judge David Evans Nov. 3.

In a probable cause affidavit, Michael Johnson, a fire inspector from the Department of Public Safety Division of Fire Safety in Jefferson City said, Pacheco piled papers, books, clothing and a mattress together and ignited them with an unknown ignition source, with other persons in the jail and building, causing substantial damage, therefore committing the crime of first degree arson. Jessie Johnson who was in the jail at the time of the fire, died of injuries he suffered from the fire, therefore committing the crime of second degree murder.

Michael Johnson said in the affidavit that two inmates who where in the jail at the same time as Pacheco, Robert Huff and Cody Davis, both said Pacheco was the only one in the cell when the fire started.

Michael Johnson also stated that he had received information from officer Kou Yang of the Green County Sheriff's Department that Huff had written him a note while he was guarding Huff at St. John's Hospital in Springfield receiving treatment for injuries he suffered in the fire. The note said "The Mexican kid did it, he started the fire. I don't want to be housed with the Mexican kid." Yang told Michael Johnson this was a voluntary statement and Huff had not been questioned by him or anyone else.

Pacheco was to be arraigned Nov. 3 in Oregon County court but because his lawyer, Ian Haptial, asked for a new judge and a change of venue the arraignment was not held.

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