Arson charges filed against Westville man

2014-05-01T12:25:00Z 2014-05-01T23:28:07Z Arson charges filed against Westville manStan Maddux Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
May 01, 2014 12:25 pm  • 

A Westville man was charged with arson a second time accused to setting fire to his rented home after a dispute with his wife.

Kevin Schmidt, 37, was arrested Tuesday at the Lake County Jail on a LaPorte County warrant charging him with Class B felony arson.

He was returned to LaPorte County and was being held without bond.

According to court documents, on June 12, 2010, Schmidt began choking his wife after they argued about a personal matter. Police said after she broke free, he approached with a filet knife, put it against her chest and said "one of us is going to get it," according to court documents.

The woman managed to flee the home and went to the home of her brother, who retrieved the Schmidt's three children from the home following an altercation with her husband, police said.

A Westville firefighter was later driving by when he noticed the house in the 100 block of East Jefferson Street burning, and saw a man later identified as Schmidt leaving the residence on a motorcycle, according to court documents.

Schmidt was found 15 hours later at a motel in Valparaiso.

According to court documents, Schmidt told investigators he may have carried a gasoline container into the living room and dropped a cigarette, which caused the fire.

Investigators, though, ruled the blaze was set intentionally.

The couple was renting the home, police said.

LaPorte County Prosecutor Bob Szilagyi said an initial round of charges was dismissed because the owner of the house had moved after Schmidt's arrest and could not be found to give testimony needed to shore up the case.

The charge was levied against Schmidt again in February, though, after the owner was located and gave a statement.

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