Sheila McLaughlin reports:
A Liberty Township teen accused of trying to burn his parents alive entered an insanity plea Wednesday at his arraignment hearing in Butler County Common Pleas Court.
Mitchell Simon, who turns 17 on Thursday, is being tried as an adult on charges of attempted murder and aggravated arson. He is being held without bond at the juvenile detention center while he undergoes a competency evaluation.
Judge Craig Hedric set a competency hearing on March 5 when psychologists will likely testify about Simon’s mental health.
Simon was a junior honor student at Lakota West High School last October when police said he confessed to setting a fire in front of his parents’ separate bedroom doors at their home on Tarragon Court after tying the doors shut.
Simon first told a detective that he was trying to kill himself but backed out when he set the fires. He later admitted that “he wanted to inflict as much pain as humanly possible on those who caused him to feel the way he felt about himself,” according to earlier testimony in juvenile court.
Simon also kept a journal that included rants about his parents, especially his mother, and an illustration of the house with the words “burn parents alive” underlined.
His parents, Sharon and Perry Simon, narrowly escaped the blaze. They are supporting their son.