Following a preliminary hearing Friday afternoon, Lincoln County Circuit Court judge Robert Russell found probable cause to bind 22-year old David E. Ostrowski of Merrill, over for trial in connection with the October 22, 2015 arson fire at 1900 E. First Street.
During Friday’s hearing, Merrill Police Department investgator Nicole Cimino discussed an interview with Ostrowski shortly after the arson fire, which destroyed the entire home, garage and most of the belongings and valuables of the family of Joe and Michele Brown. At the time of the fire, seven people were inside the Brown family home and asleep, including Joe, Michele as well as the couple’s son and four of his friends.
During that interview, Ostrowski reportedly indicated he “wanted them to feel how I felt. I wanted them to see what it’s like to lose everything.”
Ostrowski sat seemingly stoic as Cimino further explained how Ostrowski reportedly admitted to entering the Brown family’s garage in the early morning hours of Thursday October 22.
Ostrowski then admittedly attempted to ignite a seat of an antique car on fire with a cigarette lighter. When that attempt failed, Ostrowski reportedly admitted to mixing oil and gasoline together before dumping it on the car and lighting with the same cigarette lighter.
The Brown family was present in the courtroom on Friday.
“Before today I’ve never met him or had a conversation with him,” explains Joe Brown, upon seeing Ostrowski in person for the first time on Friday.
“I had seen him walking around town a few times and seen him on video in court before, but never in person. I thought he was very uncaring and arrogant, not a person with any feelings. In my eyes he’s a menace and not safe to be on the streets.”
“Even though they initially told me someone had done it, I didn’t want to believe it. I actually broke down when they called and told me an arrest had been made. I couldn’t really believe anyone would do something like that. I didn’t want to believe it.”
“Its taken a long time to get to this point in terms of the court process and so on. Nothing will ever change what happened to us and we will never get back everything we lost. But it will make us feel better knowing he’s locked away somewhere so hes doesnt do this to someone else.”
“I just want him to locked away so he doesn’t end up killing somebody”
According to Merrill Police Captain Corey Bennett, at the time of Ostrowski’s arrest on April 29, he was also determined to be a suspect in two vehicle arsons and several vehicle entries in the week proceeding the arson fire at 1900 E. First Street.