Two suspects plead insanity in arson case

By BRIAN BOHNERT
FOR THE COURIER

FOSTORIA — A Fostoria woman accused of setting a fire that killed two people over the Memorial Day weekend has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Shey L. Weiker, 31, and one of her co-defendants, Charles V. Schaeffer, 44, both of 151 Taft Blvd., each entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity during arraignment hearings Wednesday in Seneca County Common Pleas Court, Tiffin.

Both are charged for their roles in a May 26 arson fire at 614 S. Poplar St. in Fostoria.

The two, along with Timothy D. Hall, 20, 126 Findlay St., Fostoria, were indicted by a Seneca County grand jury last week on charges stemming from the blaze that took the lives of Daniel Marker Jr., 48, and Tara Lynn Vance, 44, and injured Dana Weatherall, 49.

Weiker is charged with aggravated arson, a first-degree felony; aggravated murder, a special felony; murder, a special felony; and attempted murder, a first-degree felony. If convicted, she could face the death penalty.

Weiker is accused of throwing a lit railroad flare toward the porch of the residence because she believed Marker, who was a registered sex offender, had committed a sex crime against her son, court documents state.

Schaeffer, who allegedly instructed Weiker how to ignite the flare, is charged with complicity to aggravated arson, a first-degree felony; complicity to aggravated murder, a special felony; complicity to murder, a special felony; and complicity to attempted murder, a first-degree felony. If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

According to an assistant prosecutor with the Seneca County Prosecutor’s Office, defendants who enter an insanity plea acknowledge committing the criminal act, but maintain they were in a situation where “they could not appreciate what they were doing or could not appreciate the wrongfulness of the act.”

A representative of Seneca County Judge Michael P. Kelbley’s office said Wednesday that court-ordered psychiatric evaluations will be scheduled for Weiker and Schaeffer.

Hall, who was arraigned during a bond hearing Tuesday, entered a plea of not guilty to charges of tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and two counts of obstructing justice, a third-degree felony. According to court records, he allegedly disposed of the flare’s strike cap by throwing it into the sewer system in the 100 block of Taft Boulevard.

If convicted, Hall faces a maximum prison term of nine years.

On Monday, Kelbley continued bond at $2 million, with 10 percent allowed, for both Weiker and Schaeffer.

The judge reduced Hall’s bond from $1.5 million to $50,000, with 10 percent allowed, according to Seneca County Common Pleas Court records.

The fire was initially reported at 3:05 a.m. on May 26, according to interim Fire Chief Warren Digby.

The three suspects were taken into custody that afternoon after officers executed a search warrant at 151 Taft Blvd.

All three are currently being held in Seneca County Jail in Tiffin.

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