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     A former Medford businessman has been charged with arson following a Main Street fire which consumed the building that had housed his business. 

     35 year old David J. Johnson of Medford has been charged with felony arson of a building.  The February 16th fire destroyed the downtown Medford building which had been the location of the Main Street Pizza and Grill.  Johnson told state special agents that he had planned to burn the building which he had been renting from Steven P. Fischer.  Fischer told Medford Police that Johnson was about $2,800 behind in rent and expenses.  Court records indicate that Johnson blamed the public and police for his business failure.  Further, he blamed the fire department for letting it burn all the way down.  The fire which Johnson said he started in a basement bathroom ultimately spread to the main floor level before being discovered by an on duty Medford Police officer at about 6:30 AM on February 16th.  

     The maximum penalty for the felony arson charge is up to 40 years imprisonment, up to $100,000 in fines or both.  Johnson’s next court appearance is a pre-trial conference on April 19th.  He is being held in Taylor County Jail on $10,000 cash bond.



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