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MERRILLVILLE — A 36-year-old man who recently served time in a community corrections program for an attempted arson returned to his victim's Merrillville home Friday and tried to set the victim on fire, records show.

Michael E. Howard, of Gary, is accused of throwing a concrete paving block through a man's sliding glass door in the 300 block of West 56th Place and dousing the man's head and clothes with gasoline.

The man, a disabled veteran, told police Howard mentioned the man's fiancee and tried to reach for a lighter. The man's fiancee is Howard's ex-girlfriend, according to Lake Criminal Court records.

The man fought with Howard, who may have realized police had been called and fled, a probable cause affidavit states.

Police arrived and found the man, who had suffered burns and was having trouble keeping his eyes open because of irritation caused by the gasoline.

All four burners on a stove were in the on position, and police could smell gas, the affidavit states.

Howard previously was charged in February 2017 with attempted arson, three counts of criminal recklessness, invasion of privacy and criminal mischief after he threw Molotov cocktails into the Merrillville home.

He was sentenced last fall to 2½ years in prison, but a judge suspended one year of the sentence and ordered Howard to serve the remaining 1½ years in a community corrections program.

Since his release from the program, Howard had been threatening the man and his fiancee via social media, the affidavit states.

Howard was charged Tuesday with felony attempted murder, three counts of burglary, arson resulting in bodily injury and stalking.

Howard was not in custody Tuesday, police said. Anyone who sees him should call 911. Anyone with information should call Detective Sgt. James Bogner at 219-769-3722.


Public safety reporter

Sarah covers crime, federal courts and breaking news for The Times. She joined the paper in 2004 after graduating from Purdue University Calumet.