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Man Accused in Smaller Kozy Fire Enters Guilty Plea

Posted at: 02/26/2013 10:09 AM
Updated at: 02/26/2013 10:21 PM
By: Alan Hoglund
ahoglund@wdio.com

The man accused of breaking into the vacant Kozy Apartment building and starting it on fire last year has entered a guilty plea in the case.

In St. Louis County court Tuesday morning, Mark Starkovich, 56, pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor charge of negligent fire. The charge of misdemeanor trespassing was dismissed.

According to the criminal complaint, the incident happened on the evening of Friday, April 6. It says flames were reported coming out of the rear entry of the laundry room area.

Witnesses reported seeing a man in the area just before the fire, which was confirmed by surveillance camera images, according to a police press release.

The complaint said the Kozy building manager reviewed that tape and positively identified the man in it as Starkovich, the building's former lead maintenance worker.

Starkovich will be sentenced in April.

The Kozy building was the site of a major fire in November 2010, which left dozens of people without a place to live. That fire is also the reason the building is currently condemned.