A judge refused this morning to release a Rio Dell man whose garage, being rented as a hash-oil lab, exploded and fatally injured one of the hash-makers.
Visiting Judge Joseph Hurley denied Deputy Public Defender Casey Russo’s request to release David Gerald Paul on his own recognizance, instead referring the case to the Probation Department for its recommendation.
Paul, his wife and another man were charged with murder after the lab caught fire and exploded on Nov. 9, 2016. A few weeks later 21-year-old Xavier Paul Renner died from his burns.
Earlier this month murder charges were dismissed. Tamara Gayle Paul, 33, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, drug charges and child endangerment. Arron Michael Mohr, 24, admitted to voluntary manslaughter and drug charges, and David Paul, 38, to drug charges and child endangerment. Russo told the judge this morning that David Paul has been “guaranteed probation.”
Renner’s family apparently did not want a murder prosecution. Xavier Renner was close friends with both of the other men operating the lab.
This morning Judge Hurley, looking at David Paul’s case file, said “He was charged with murder? What’s the deal?”
Russo explained that the person who died “was renting a garage from my client.”
“Why would I release him?” the judge asked, saying a possible release before sentencing “could have been decided when he pled.”
Deputy District Attorney Trent Timm objected to freeing Paul, saying “there’s been no change of circumstances.”
The Pauls were renting the detached garage to Mohr, Renner and Aaron Schisler, who escaped and remains on the run. The three were using butane to extract hash-oil, and someone lit a cigarette.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 9. David Paul’s maximum sentence is four years and eight months, but he apparently will be placed on probation. Tamara Paul is looking at a possible seven years and eight months, and Mohr at up to 12 years and eight months.
The Pauls have two young children, which is why they were charged with child endangerment.
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