by Sam Levin
On August 4, 2011, Michael Grimes broke into his ex-boyfriend's apartment, pretended he had a weapon and threatened to shoot but instead decided to leave. Later that evening, however, he returned to the Midtown apartment on Vandeventer Avenue -- and set it on fire.
One upstairs neighbor fell unconscious due to the smoke and was on life support for four days after.
This is the account authorities tell in their announcement yesterday that a jury has found Grimes guilty of multiple counts, including first-degree arson.
The St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office says that Grimes, now 51, is also guilty of first-degree burglary and third-degree assault. The attack and arson incident happened in the third-floor unit at the Lindell Park Apartments.
Grimes was, however, acquitted of a second-degree burglary charge relating to his second stop in the apartment that day.
More than a hundred people were forced out of the building that night and at least three people were hanging out of their windows when firefighters arrived, prompting a dramatic rescue. Damage was mostly contained the the third floor, officials said at the time.
During the trial, several residents testified about what they saw that night and the circuit attorney's office says they "played a vital role in obtaining the arson conviction."
The sentencing date is set for August 9.
Here's the full announcement from the circuit attorney:
Verdict: Michael Grimes has been found guilty of first-degree arson. June 27, 2013
Michael Grimes has been found guilty today by a St. Louis jury of first-degree arson, first-degree burglary and third-degree assault.
The defendant broke into his ex-boyfriend's apartment on Aug. 4, 2011, acted as though he had a weapon and threatened to shoot those present. Later that night, the defendant returned and set fire to the apartment. A neighbor living in the apartment building fell unconscious due to the smoke and was on life-support for 4 days as a result.
Several of the residents who lived in the apartment building testified at trial about what they saw on Aug. 4, 2011. Their testimony played a vital role in obtaining the arson conviction.
Sentencing is set in the case for Aug. 9 in Division 12 before St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Dennis Schaumann.