Wednesday, 12 June 2024

REGIONAL: Laytonville man arrested for attempted arson

LAYTONVILLE – Mendocino County officials arrested a man late last week who they allege tried to burn down the home he shared with his girlfriend.

Shawn McNeely, 42, was arrested May 7 on a charge of arson, according to Capt. Kurt Smallcomb of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

On May 7 deputies responded to a residence on Meadow Lane in Laytonville regarding a possible arson, Smallcomb said.

When they arrived, deputies located a fire burning in the rear of the residence, in a small yard area. Smallcomb said the deputies also noted approximately 90 marijuana plants in a small carport which had the heavy odor of gasoline on and around them.

In their investigation, the deputies located a gasoline can and lawn mower which appeared to have been the source of the fuel for the fire. With the large amount of moisture in the grass and foliage around the residence, the fire had not burned well and was easy to put out, Smallcomb said.

At the residence the deputies contacted a female adult who advised she had been in a dating relationship with McNeely, according to Smallcomb.

That day, the couple had been at their home and McNeely had been drinking, eventually becoming inebriated. Smallcomb said the female requested McNeely leave the residence due to his drunken state, which he did.

However, Smallcomb said that a short time later, the electricity suddenly went off inside the residence. The woman stated that she believed McNeely was responsible for turning off the power.

A few minutes later McNeely entered the residence through the back door, Smallcomb said. The female stated she ran out the front door fearing there would be a physical altercation. She then called law enforcement and waited outside the residence in the woods until deputies arrived at the location.

Deputies searched the house for McNeely with no success, however they continued to search the woods and surrounding areas, until such time McNeely was located and placed under arrest, Smallcomb said.

McNeely told deputies he had been burning brush all day. Due to the close proximity of the fire to the residence and the obvious use of accelerant on the marijuana plants in the carport, it appeared McNeely was attempting to burn the property of another, according to Smallcomb.

Smallcomb said McNeely was transported and booked into the Mendocino County Jail for arson.

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