A Liberty Township teen is facing murder charges after he has been accused of intentionally setting a fire late Wednesday night in his family’s home.
Mitchell Simon, 16, was booked in the Butler County juvenile detention facility at 4 a.m.
He is being charged as a juvenile with two counts aggravated attempted murder and one count of aggravated arson, said Butler County sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Monte Mayer.
Simon’s mother and father were injured after a fire broke out at their Tarragon Court home.
The sheriff’s office plans to ask Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser to charge Simon as an adult. A message was left with Gmoser Thursday afternoon seeking comment.
It appears the fire was purposely started in two different spots of the upstairs main hallway, one of which was in front his parents’ master bedroom, according to Fire Chief Paul Stumpf.
Butler County Sheriff Rick Jones said the door of the bedroom had been tied shut.
Jones said Simon, a junior at Lakota West High School and honor-roll student, confessed and “showed no remorse.”
Simon has no known psychological problems or prior criminal record, he said. Still, the teen mapped out a detailed plan on how he was going to kill his parents.
“This is a well thought out plan,” Jones said. “In 40 years, I’ve never seen this and it was almost successful. A lot of people could have been killed or hurt. When you are 16 years old and trying to kill people and tie their door shut, this is serious stuff.”
Jones declined to disclose additional details about the plan or to say what sparked the dispute. It was over something fairly minor, he said.
“It was just a parent saying you can’t do this or you can’t do that,” Jones said.
Both parents are shocked their son would executive such a cold, calculated plot against them, he added.
“He drew pictures of what he wanted to do,” Jones said. “He had a blueprint.”
Simon appeared before Juvenile Court Magistrate Michael Braun Thursday morning. A plea was not entered and a pretrial hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 5.
Braun ordered Simon held until that hearing.
Counsel is being appointed for Simon.
Sheriff’s deputies and fire and emergency medical crews from Liberty, West Chester and Fairfield townships first responded to the $259,000 family home at 7125 Tarragon Ct. at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday.
It was the first time the sheriff’s office has ever been called there, Mayer said. There is no history of prior runs.
But when authorities arrived, they found a life-threatening situation. Simon’s father, Perry Simon, 50, broke his legs when he jumped from a second story window to escape, an incident report shows.
And Simon’s mother, Sharon, 56, was hanging from a second-story window. She said fire in front of her door blocked her escape.
Fire crews rescued her down a ladder, but she still required medical treatment for smoke inhalation.
“They were both lucky to escape. It is miraculous,” Stumpf said.
The couple was taken to West Chester Hospital and should recover, he said.
Simon, who used some type of accelerent to spark the fire, was tracked down a short time later and taken into custody, Jones said.
He left the house in his mother’s car immediately after the fire broke out, went “somewhere,” Jones said, and returned to the house.
Jones declined to say where the teen went or why.
Damage was set at $2,500.
Some neighbors said they were shocked to learn about the charges facing Simon.
“Nothing happens here. I am surprised this would go on. This is a pretty quiet neighborhood,” said Bob Bunton, 75.
Other residents said the teen had problems at home but was always friendly when they saw him out walking in the neighborhood.
“I knew there were a lot of issues,” said Diane Aldrich, 39. “I don’t know if he was in trouble, but I knew he had some issues with his parents, nothing that would warrant being charged, though.”
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