Man facing arson trial seeks venue change

A man accused of being one half of a pair that burned down a Fort Dodge business and burglarized a nonprofit organization is seeking to move the location of his trial.

In addition to the motion filed by Gregory P. White, 24, of Fort Dodge, his alleged accomplice, Tanner J. King, 23, has filed a motion to join in that request to move the trial out of Webster County.

Both White and King have been charged with first-degree arson, second-degree burglary, first-degree criminal mischief, second-degree theft and possession of a firearm as a felon in connection with a fire that happened at Bemrich Electric & Telephone, 110 S. 21st St., on June 21. Additionally, White and King are facing third-degree burglary, second-degree criminal mischief and second-degree theft charges in connection to a burglary at the American Red Cross Training Center, 20 N. 16th St., the same day as the Bemrich Electric fire.

No date for the change of venue hearing had been scheduled as of Monday afternoon.

The two men, who have been released from jail after posting bond, pleaded not guilty to their charges.

White and King are accused of breaking into Bemrich Electric in the early morning hours of June 21. According to court documents, they set fire to the building while they were committing the burglary.

Firefighters arrived on scene at 2:43 a.m. and were able to get the fire under control a little more than two hours later, at 4:50 a.m.

About an hour after that, Fort Dodge Police officers were called to the Red Cross to take a burglary report. A vehicle was among the items reported taken from the location.

Investigators found evidence that suggested the two crimes were connected, and soon arrested White and King in connection with the crimes.

White and King are scheduled to go on trial beginning Feb. 18, 2014.