BILLY JOEL ARRESTED FOR ARSON
POP STAR OFFERS CONFUSED, INCOHERENT DENIAL
Singer and songwriter Billy Joel was arrested today on suspicion of arson, after being found near the scene of a three-alarm fire by police officer Sergeant Thomas O'Leary. O'Leary was off-duty at the time, heading to a second job as a bartender at "Mister Cacciatore's", a popular local establishment, but nonetheless made the arrest.
Police claim that when questioned about the incident, Joel offered a confused and incoherent "alibi" that amounted to little more than a string of names of people and places, many of whom were deceased at the time of the fire and a few of which were fictional. The four and a half minute long statement seemed to imply, at points, that he was with "Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, (and) Elvis Presley" at "Disneyland", but contradicted itself with his later claim that he was with "(Menachim) Begin (and Ronald) Reagan" in "Palestine."
One thing that Joel maintained steadfastly throughout the stream-of-consciousness statement was his innocence of the crime that police accused him of. Frequently and repeatedly, he insisted that "we didn't start the fire, it was always burning since the world's been turning" (police are now searching for co-conspirators based on Joel's unintentional use of the word "we".) He further claimed to be trying to fight the blaze when police found him.
Ironically, while attempting to clear his name of arson charges, Joel seemed to confess to a crime he almost certainly didn't commit--at one point, he cocked his thumb and forefinger into a gun and said, simply, "JFK, blown away--what else do I have to say?" Police point out that the singer would have been fourteen at the time of the Kennedy assassinations, and would have had no way to get from New York City to Dallas for the shooting.
At this point, the next stage in the legal process remains unclear. Joel has been released on bail, but his press conference consisted solely of him insisting again and again, frequently in a high-pitched voice, that he was "an innocent man." His lawyers have not declared yet whether they intend to use an insanity defense, even though Joel has stated publicly on his leaving the courtroom that "you may be right, I may be crazy, but I just may be the lunatic you're looking for" (an incriminating statement that may make it difficult to find an unbiased jury.)
One thing is certain; if convicted, the legal system has made it clear that they intend to seek the maximum sentence for his crimes. It seems that the New York City penal system intends, if possible, to hold him for the longest time.