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Aiman Arabeiat was arrested and charged with arson on Nov. 17, 2011.
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Aiman Arabeiat continues to injuries suffered during an explosion at his restaurant. Jessica Noll
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Aiman Arabeiat, owner of the Jerusalem Restaurant, pleads guilty to causing explosion

Son pleads guilty to obstruction

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CINCINNATI -- A Clifton Heights restaurant owner accused of causing an explosion in his own business in November 2011 and his son accused of tampering with evidence pleaded guilty to reduced charges in a deal with prosecutors on Monday.

Aiman Arabeiat, owner of the Jerusalem Restaurant, pleaded to one count of aggravated arson. A second count was dropped. He faces up to eight years in prison.

His son, Amjud, pleaded to obstruction, a lesser charge. He faces up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.

Both men will be sentenced Dec. 3. They are free on their own recognizance.

Father and son would comment on camera. Their trial was scheduled to start Monday.

Aiman Arabeiat suffered second-degree burns in the explosion, as well as injuries to his head and lungs from breathing in hot fumes.

Prosecutors said Arabeiat rigged a hot plate to set a paper towel on fire in the restaurant. But the plan backfired because he poured gasoline in the basement and the vapors ignited, causing an explosion.

The restaurant was closed at the time and no one else was injured.

Arabeiat's son, Amjud, was waiting outside at the time of the explosion and drove him to the hospital, police said.

Prosecutors said Amjud was caught on hospital surveillance video hiding his father's clothing.

The restaurant had closed because of financial problems, workers at nearby stores said. Friends of Arabeiat said he closed down the eatery to remodel after plans to sell the business fell through.

 

 

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