HAMILTON, OHIO: A 16-year-old Southwest Ohio boy accused of tying his parents’ bedroom doors shut while they were inside and setting the house on fire faces possible trial as an adult.
The teen is charged with attempted murder and arson from the fire last month in Liberty Township, a suburb north of Cincinnati. Deputies responding to the fire said the father jumped out of a second story window, injuring his leg, and his wife was rescued when fire crews used a ladder. She was treated for smoke inhalation.
A ruling Tuesday by Butler County Common Pleas Judge Ronald Craft sends the case to adult court for consideration by a grand jury. Rob Clevenger, Butler County Juvenile Justice Center director, said Wednesday that the seriousness of the alleged crime and the boy’s age required the referral after the judge found probable cause.
Authorities said the boy was apparently upset after his laptop computer was taken away, and that his journal contained threats and rants about his parents. Sheriff’s detective Ron Owens testified Tuesday that the youth told him he had tried to harm himself multiple times before setting the fire using gasoline.
“He said he wanted a fresh start,” Owens said.
The Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News reported that the boy’s attorney still hopes the case will be returned to juvenile court after grand jury consideration.
“This is a 16-year-old kid that cried out for help and had no real appreciation for what he was getting into,” attorney Brad Kraemer said, adding that the boy has mental health issues that need to be addressed.
The boy was allowed to hug his parents in an emotional reunion in court Tuesday.
The Associated Press isn’t identifying the boy or his family because of his age.