Dakotah Mingee, the 19-year-old Manchester volunteer firefighter who was accused of setting fire to at least one house has waived his right to a preliminary hearing. The Informer first broke the story locally last year.
In felony cases like Mingee’s, a defendant is entitled to a preliminary hearing unless waived in writing. If the defendant waives the preliminary hearing, the judge or magistrate shall forthwith order the defendant bound over to the court of common pleas.
During a preliminary hearing, the prosecuting attorney may state orally the case for the state, and shall then proceed to examine witnesses and introduce exhibits for the state. The defendant and the judge or magistrate have full right of cross-examination, and the defendant has the right of inspection of exhibits prior to their introduction.
According to law experts, a defense attorney would recommend waiving the preliminary hearing only if the evidence against the defendant was substantial or overwhelming, and waiving the hearing would benefit the defendant in a significant way. For example, if the case is a high-profile matter involving a great deal of publicity, an attorney might recommend waiving preliminary hearing in order to limit the release of information and evidence to the public.
In September, Mingee was charged with aggravated arson. Mingee had been with the fire department since January of 2016 and was a 2018 graduate of Manchester High School. He was fired from the department shortly after the investigation surfaced.
Sources also reported that two other individuals are suspected to be apart of the alleged criminal acts. Sources say one of the individuals has a history of vandalism in Manchester
In early October, Mingee appeared in the County Court where his bond was set at $25,000.
According to the Ohio Revised Code, aggravated arson is a felony of the second degree and is punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison, with fines of up to $20,000.