King to change plea

One of two men accused of burning down a local business and burglarizing a non-profit has told a Webster County judge that he intends to accept a plea agreement in the case.

Tanner J. King, 23, of Fort Dodge, made the statement via his attorney, Trevor Hook, of West Des Moines, during a hearing in Webster County District Court Monday morning.

The original purpose of the hearing was to hear arguments for a change of venue, which had been filed by King’s alleged accomplice, Gregory P. White, 24.

Following King’s decision, White’s attorney, Brandon Brown, of Des Moines, said that he felt requesting a change of venue was “premature.”

“Given the complexion of the case, we would like to withdraw that motion,” Brown said.

He added that the change of venue motion can be filed again if he feels it’s necessary to request it.

Judge Thomas Bice accepted the motion to withdraw the change of venue request, and scheduled King’s plea hearing and sentencing for Jan. 27.

The men are accused of burning down Bemrich Electric & Telephone Inc., 110 S. 21st St., on June 21. That same day, King and White are alleged to have burglarized the American Red Cross Training Center, 20 N. 16th St.

According to court documents, the pair set fire to the Bemrich Electric building while they were committing a 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, which included a stolen vehicle.

King and White were both arrested and charged with the crimes within a week, and both had pleaded not guilty.

King will remain free on bond until he is sentenced. White is in the Webster County Jail for allegedly violating his pre-trial release.