LAPORTE | A cigarette lighter was used to set a fire July 4 at the LaPorte County Jail that resulted in the evacuation of two cell blocks.
That new information was released after a Class B felony arson charge was filed against inmate Marzano Shelly when LaPorte Circuit Court Judge Tom Alevizos on Wednesday found sufficient evidence to have him face criminal allegations.
How Shelly, 35, wound up with the lighter was not known for certain, but authorities have their suspicions.
"We suspect certain things but we have no idea," said LaPorte County Police Chief of Detectives Pat Cicero.
He would not divulge how they believe the lighter was smuggled into the jail.
Items such as matches and lighters are prohibited from the jail.
Shelly allegedly set fire to the mattress in his jail cell.
Smoke from the mattress resulted in more than 30 offenders in two cell blocks being temporarily housed in other secure areas of the jail and Shelly being treated at a hospital for minor smoke inhalation.
Shelly is still awaiting trial on a charge of murder for the fatal shooting of 73-year-old Charles Harper in Michigan City in 2012.
According to police, Harper was inside his home and shot during a robbery.