YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A man accused of breaking into an Austintown carport and setting it on fire testified Thursday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
Under cross-examination, Matthew Alexander, 35, of Youngstown, said he had no idea how the Sept. 9, 2020, fire started that damaged the carport on Beverly Avenue. No one was injured in the fire.
Testimony in the trial began Tuesday after jury selection before Judge Anthony D’Apolito. Jurors are expected to hear closing arguments this afternoon.
Alexander is charged with aggravated arson and breaking and entering.
Under cross-examination from Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Paris, Alexander appeared to contradict earlier testimony when he testified under direct examination that the fire started behind him in the carport.
Paris showed Alexander a picture that she said shows the fire started on a grill that was in front of him in the carport. When asked where he thought the fire started, he said it started on the grill, according to the picture he was shown.
Investigators confirmed the fire started on a grill in the carport. Firefighters were able to stop the fire from spreading to the attached home.
A co-defendant, Ashley Levin, 37, of Austintown, pleaded guilty on April 14 to a second-degree felony charge of aggravated arson as well as a fifth-degree felony count of breaking and entering. She is expected to be sentenced on June 1.
An entry in her plea form said prosecutors are seeking two to three years in prison as long as she cooperates with the state.