Rajendiran pleads guilty to plotting deadly Iron Grill arson
Five years after a popular Woodstock restaurant was destroyed by fire, jurors expected to begin hearing the first case connected to the incident Monday.
Instead, the 12-person jury was sent home after Arun Rajendiran pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson.
In August 2009, the Iron Grill restaurant burned down while it was closed for repairs.
One man who was outside the eatery was killed in the fire, and a second suffered life-threatening burn injuries.
According to an agreed statement of facts, Rajendiran was one of three people planning to start the fire and collect a $5,000 share of insurance money afterward.
However, court heard, Rajendiran was cut out of the plan only days before the fire.
Charges were initially laid against five people, all of whom were arrested at homes in Toronto, but later dropped against two of the five.
A third, Jeyakumar Shanmuganthan, is believed to have fled Canada for Sri Lanka.
Pending Rajendiran’s sentencing in early September, the lone man before the courts in connection with the fire is Usama Ahkter – the surviving victim of the explosion.
He faces charges of arson and manslaughter, and his trial begins in November.
Police also continue to search for one suspect, believed to be the person who drove Ahkter and Rajendiran to the Iron Grill on that night.