Man admits to setting roommate on fire

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Arlen Atkinson

Arlen Atkinson indicted on murder, arson, kidnapping, felonious assault charges

By Leigh Ann Rutledge

and Carol McIntire

One day after Arlen A. Atkinson appeared in Carroll County Municipal Court via video conference for a preliminary hearing, a Carroll County grand jury handed down an indictment charging him with the Jan. 23 death of his roommate.

Atkinson, 53, of 2101 Bellflower Rd., Malvern, is facing one count of Aggravated Murder, two counts of Murder, two counts of Aggravated Arson, two counts of Kidnapping and one count of Felonious Assault, in connection with a Jan. 23 fire that left his roommate, 58-year-old Scot Hupp dead.

Richard Stauffer, an investigator for the county prosecutor’s office, testified at the preliminary hearing Atkinson told deputies during a jailhouse interview, he and Hupp had a verbal disagreement earlier in the day after Hupp called him a racist.

He retrieved a gas can from a detached garage and went into the 1 ½ story brick bungalow home where Hupp was lying on a bed.

Atkinson said he poured the gxcas on Hupp, his bed and the room. He lit the gas on fire and closed the bedroom door.

Hupp’s bedroom was located on the first floor of the home, which sustained heavy smoke damage and some heat damage. The bedroom had fire damage and extreme heavy smoke damage. He said the fire had not gotten into the walls, though, as the walls and ceiling were intact. The mattress was mostly consumed by fire, but remnants remained.

A representative from the State Fire Marshal’s office took samples from the floor and all the items tested positive for the accelerant gasoline.

Great Trail Fire Chief Ralph Castellucci told The Messenger when firefighters arrived at the scene, Atkinson and Hupp were sitting outside the home.  Hupp was taken by life flight helicopter to Akron Children’s Hospital where he later died.

Prosecutor Steven D. Barnett said Hupp sustained burns over 75 percent of his body, which ultimately resulted in his death. 

In referring to the indictment, Barnett, noted the aggravated murder charge is a result of Atkinson committing aggravated arson by using fire to create a substantial risk of serious physical harm to the victim.

“The underlying murder charges stem from the allegation that Atkinson purposely caused the death of another by means of committing Aggravated Arson, which is a felony offense of violence and for purposely causing the death of another. These are lesser included offenses of the aggravated murder charge,” he explained.

He explained the felonious assault charge is for causing serious physical harm to Hupp. The offense carried a specification that Atkinson used an accelerant that resulted in permanent serious disfigurement or permanent substantial incapacity.

The investigator testified during the municipal court hearing that two calls were made to report the incident. The first call was from Atkinson and the second one from Mark Mayle, who owned the home.

Judge Gary Willen found probable cause and bound the case over to the Common Pleas Court. As a result of the grand jury indictment, the case in common pleas court was dismissed. Atkinson remains in the county jail on a $2 million cash bond.

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