Homeowner guilty of drug charge

Matt Cones
Matt Cones

(CINCINNATI) -- The owner of a home where a fatal fire took place last month has been found guilty of cultivating marijuana.

Matt Cones pled no contest on one count of illegal manufacture of drugs or cultivation of marijuana. He was found guilty by judge Fred Nelson.

Pleading no contest means the defendant is not pleading guilty, but does admit the indictment is true.

Fire Captain Robin Broxterman and firefighter Brian Schira were killed in the April 4 fire on Squirrelsnest Lane. Investigators have determined the cause of the fire was a dysfunctional fan in a cedar closet, and the marijuana had nothing to do with the fire.

Cones' attorney, Scott Croswell, said that Cones has been extremely cooperative with police and was honest when investigators asked him what was in his home.

Investigators found five marijuana plants in the basement of Cones' home. Croswell said the plants were grown for Cones' personal use, not to sell.

The charge is a fifth degree felony punishable by 6 to 12 months in prison and fines. Cones will be sentenced on June 12.

The families of Broxterman and Schira will be at Tuesday night's Reds game as honorary guests for Police and Firefighter Appreciation Night. Broxterman's fiancee and Schira's niece will participate in the ceremonial first pitch.