Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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July 18, 2013

Police: Suspect claims 'voices' said to burn down house

PERU — A notice of mental disease or defect has been filed in the case of a 19-year-old Amboy man charged with arson after deputies say he stated “the voices” made him set fire to his parents’ house.

Isaac D. Thomas was arrested in May after deputies say he admitted to placing a can of gasoline in his parents’ kitchen oven and setting it on fire.

Deputies responded to the blaze at 11824 S. 700 East, where they found the west side of the residence in flames.

Thomas’ parents escaped the fire and no injuries were reported.

Thomas’ mother said once she was outside, her son drove up to the house crying and said “the voices had told him to do it.”

He then stated he was going to be arrested and fled the scene.

Deputies arrested Thomas after he again returned to the fire scene and told investigators he started the blaze, court documents state.

He told investigators he believed his parents had been performing witchcraft on him during the previous month.

He said he returned to the house to make sure his parents were safe and he didn’t want to hurt them, just burn down the house because he was upset at them, according to court documents.

State code says a person with a mental disease or defect is not responsible for engaging in prohibited conduct if, as a result of mental disease or defect, he is unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of the conduct at the time of the offense.

State code defines a mental disease or defect as a “severely abnormal mental condition that grossly and demonstrably impairs a person’s perception.”

A pretrial hearing is set for Sept. 12, according to court documents.

Carson Gerber is a Kokomo Tribune reporter. He can be reached at 765-854-6739, or by email at carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com.

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