Local businessman arrested in fire for hire case
A local businessman was arrested Friday on charges he hired another person to set fire to a house he owned and rented on First Avenue.
Joseph McCall, 56, of Marlinton, was arrested by Major David Walton of the Pocahontas County Sheriff's Department.
Walton said McCall hired Larry Turner to burn a house that was occupied by Catherine and Terry Stalnaker. Both Stalnakers were hospitalized on December 16, 2009, when Walton said Elmer Lee Tincher, 30, of Marlinton, entered the house with another person to verify that it was unoccupied before they "struck the match" that destroyed the house.
Tincher and his unnamed companion were hired by Turner, Walton said.
Walton said he first heard the story of a fire for hire from a woman he picked up on another charge. Her story was subsequently verified by Catherine Stalnaker and Tincher, who confessed.
Catherine Stalknaker told law enforcement officers that Turner had come to her and her husband to tell them they needed to find a place to stay because "he had been hired to burn the house," Walton said.
She also related that another person warned her to "get out," the major continued.
Walton would not say how much money exchanged hands either between McCall and Turner or Turner and Tincher.
Although Walton said there had been some "animosity" between Tincher and Terry Stalnaker, Tincher told him he would not have burned the house without pay.
McCall owns Huntersville Grocery and several rental properties in Marlinton. He was also part owner of Stony Creek Inn, which closed in December.
McCall, Turner and Tincher are charged with arson in the first degree and conspiracy to commit a felony. Tincher was also charged with burglary in an unrelated incident. McCall was arrested at his Beaver Creek home without incident, Walton said.
McCall posted bond and was released. Tincher was lodged in the Tygarts Valley Regional Jail in lieu of $40,000 bond.
Turner is not in the county, but is expected to be arrested shortly, Walton said.
Another arrest is pending, he said.