A man who torched the home of his gracious hosts and then walked away, leaving them to burn as they slept, has been found competent to stand trial.
The suspected arsonist, William Frances Schwab, 62, was sent for mental evaluation shortly after being hit with a felony charge this summer. The exam found Schwab understands the charges against him, allowing prosecutors to go ahead with their case. Schwab waived his right to preliminary hearing last week and was bound to the grand jury on the charge of aggravated arson.
His charge comes after he reportedly set a home at 191 Guthrie Road near Dibrell on fire in July. The trailer belonged to Scott Bell and Kimberly Hennessee, who were allowing Schwab to live in their home.
“He said he was mad at them because they were taking advantage of him financially,” revealed sheriff’s investigator Kevin Murphy of Schwab’s statement to him.
The home was a complete loss. The North Warren Fire Department was summoned to the scene and was told there was someone trapped inside. They were unable to find any trace of Schwab, who Bell had tried to find inside the blaze, not knowing he had left the premises.
“Scott Bell went back inside to look for William Schwab and received a burn to his back,” Murphy said, noting Bell had been asleep and was unaware of the circumstances of the fire.
Schwab is charged with a Class A felony, meaning he faces 15 to 25 years in prison. The charge was upped to “aggravated” because Scott was burned and there were people present at the time of the suspected arson.