MOUNTAIN HOME, AR (KAIT) - A Gassville man told deputies that God told him to burn down his mother's house on Labor Day, Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery said Wednesday.
Scott G. Willett, 25, was arrested and has been charged with arson following an investigation into a house fire that was reported at 11:49 a.m. on Sept. 5, at 2497 Wildcat Shoals Road, Montgomery said.
The fire had suspicious elements, including numerous items from inside that home that had been strewn about the yard, and Sheriff's investigators were called to the scene.
Investigators spoke with Willett, who lived at the home but is not the owner. Willett initially told investigators that he arrived back at the home and found fire department personnel on scene.
He told investigators that he did not know how the fire would have started. Investigators found a small propane torch lying in debris in the master bedroom, which was taken into evidence, Montgomery said.
However, a neighbor told investigators that Willett had been seen on the property during the morning the fire had occurred.
The neighbor had video surveillance cameras, with investigators using the video footage to establish a time line and chain of events during the morning of the fire.
Willett was seen on camera leaving the residence at approximately 11:36 a.m. in a vehicle. Just 30 seconds later, the video footage revealed smoke coming from the back side of the home near the master bedroom, Montgomery said.
Willett was interviewed by Sheriff's investigators on September 20th. When Willett was confronted with the video evidence, he immediately confessed to having set fire to the home, which is owned by his mother.
When asked why he had set the fire, Willett said, "God told me to," Montgomery said.
Willett was in the Baxter County jail Wednesday on a $75,000 bond, awaiting a circuit court appearance Thursday in Mountain Home.
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