A Houston County Circuit judge is mulling over a request asking a new trial for a man convicted of setting fire to a now-defunct Dothan restaurant.
The attorney for Jason Garzarek contends evidence was withheld which potentially caused the scales of justice to be tilted toward the prosecution during a trial held earlier this year.
During a hearing held Wednesday, Garzarek's attorney, Arthur Medley, brought up several points he claims warrants a new trial. Among them, scene pictures Medley contends were given to the district attorney's office but not offered to the defense. Additionally, Medley claims recorded telephone conversations involving Garzarek when he was jailed awaiting trial weren't offered to the defense despite repeated requests.
Garzarek was convicted in June of arson in connection with the 2010 fire that damaged Poplar Head Grill, which is now closed. The six day trial was the longest in recent Houston County memory though the jury deliberated only for a couple of hours. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Garzarek is a disabled war veteran who served in Iraq. Witnesses and others claim he suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome as a result of his military service.
Garzarek, according to court documents, also faces an arson charge in the Birmingham area.
Circuit Judge Brad Mendheim will rule on the new trial motion in the next few days.
Click below to download and read entire motion for new trial.