News and Press Releases

Manhattan Man Indicted on Arson Charge



May 5, 2011

TOPEKA, KAN. – A Manhattan, Kan., man has been indicted on federal arson charges in connection with a fire at a lumber company in Manhattan, Kan., U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.

William Joseph Willox, 22, Manhattan, Kan., is charged with starting the April 24, 2009, fire at Griffith Lumber Company, 820 Levee Drive in Manhattan.

If convicted, he faces a penalty of not less than five years and not more than 20 years and a fine up to $250,000. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Manhattan Fire Department and the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Maag is prosecuting.

“The entire community was impacted by this fire,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Michael P. Gleysteen. “The ATF, the Manhattan Fire Department and the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office worked tirelessly to investigate this case.”

“We were fortunate there weren’t any injuries or deaths associated with this fire,” said Jerry Snyder, Director of Fire Services, Manhattan Fire Department. “This was a devastating event for the citizens of Manhattan and for Griffith Lumber. The Manhattan Fire Department will continue to work closely with investigators and prosecutors to see this case through to the end.”

In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The indictments merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.



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