clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

WHO SET DEADLY '80 FIRE? POLICE SAY THEY'VE GOT THE MAN

The fire in his trailer was so intense, Roy Fisher never had a chance.

Sixteen years later, state police say they've got the guy who poured the gasoline and lit the match.Timothy Carigon, who was 17 at the time, was arraigned Wednesday on a charge of first-degree murder. He was a suspect soon after the June 1980 fire, but authorities say it took several years to break the silence of people familiar with the crime.

"I took this upon myself," said Sgt. Jack VanderWal, a state police detective who reopened the case in 1993. "Mr. Fisher probably wasn't the most stellar person in the world. He was a little bit eccentric and lived in a wooded area. But he deserved more than this."

Carigon, 33, was arrested at his rural Saranac home and was being held without bond at the county jail.

"From his demeanor, he acted like there was some relief," Van-der-Wal said.

According to the felony complaint signed by the detective, a witness said Carigon poured fuel around the trailer, about 25 miles east of Grand Rapids, after a fight with the 63-year-old Fisher.

The witness isn't named in the court document, but Ken Voet, a former state police detective who investigated the case in 1980, said he believes Carigon's teenage girlfriend was at the scene.

VanderWal refused to say whether he believes Carigon had intended to kill Fisher.

The charge was filed by the state Attorney General's Office after the local prosecutor, Ray Voet - the former detective's son - refused to do so.

"I would relish a murder case with my father as the original investigator. That would be a great story," Ray Voet said. "But I'm not aware of any additional hard evidence."

Relatives were stunned by the arrest. Ryan Carigon said his brother, a self-employed metal worker, is not a killer.

"He was upset when my mother's dog died," Ryan told The Grand Rapids Press.