Sheila McLaughlin reports:
A Liberty Township honor student accused of trying to burn his parents alive in their home now faces prosecution as an adult.
A Butler County grand jury has indicted Mitchell Simon, 16, on two counts of attempted murder and a single charge of aggravated arson, according to a grand jury report released Wednesday. Simon turns 17 on Jan. 30.
Each charge carries a sentence of three to 10 years in prison.
Simon was a junior 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.
His parents Sharon and Perry Simon escaped. They are supporting their son despite the allegations.
A Butler County juvenile judge transferred the case to a grand jury because of Simon’s age and the severity of the charges.
Simon first told a detective that he was trying to kill himself but chickened 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.
He had kept a journal, which was displayed at the juvenile court hearing, in which he ranted about his parents, especially his mother. It also contained an illustration of a house with the words “burn parents alive” underlined.
Simon’s attorney Brad Kraemer maintains that his client’s real intention wasn’t to kill his parents. Instead, he said it was so that the parents couldn’t stop Simons from harming himself.