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7 Charged With Murder in Fire Case

April 14, 2000

LIMA, Ohio (AP) _ Seven men were arrested and charged with murder Thursday in the deaths of five people in a house fire.

Investigators said the fire March 29 was apparently set with gasoline in a first-floor living room.

Police Maj. Larry Winegardner would say only that the crime was premeditated. ``It was planned,″ he said.

The fire killed a woman, her two teen-age children and her fiance’s two teen-age children. The fiance leaped from an upstairs window.

Charged were Eddie McClellan, 47; Martice Boddie, 25; Samuel Williams, 23; Michael Wright, 23; Kendell Seay, 22; Courtney Ward, 22; and Eddie White Jr., 21, Lima police said.

The seven, all of Lima, could face additional charges once evidence is presented to the grand jury, said police Sgt. Michael Keith. He would not comment on what those charges might be or a possible motive.

Defense attorney John Poppe represents Boddie.

``He doesn’t know anything about this,″ Poppe said. ``We don’t see any evidence to show why he was charged.″

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