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Tue, Oct. 15

Criminally insane arsonist gets 7.5 years in mental hospital

Carter S. Katchen

Carter S. Katchen

PRESCOTT - Carter S. Katchen, arrested in March for trying to set his apartment on fire, pleaded guilty except insane and on Wednesday was sentenced to 7.5 years in the Arizona State Hospital.

Katchen, 39, was booked on charges of endangerment, arson, disorderly conduct and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Neighbors called 911 to report that they smelled gasoline coming from one of the units at the complex in the 600 block of Dameron Drive. When police arrived, they saw Katchen come out of an apartment and then run back inside, a police report said. Officers heard him smashing things in the apartment.

As the officers were starting to assemble, Katchen came out "wearing a large puffy coat with multiple sweatshirts on underneath, multiple pairs of pants with duct tape around the bottom of the (legs)...and had a large pair of gardening gloves on," the report said.

Police took him into custody and went into the apartment, where they found "eight to 10 gallons of gasoline (poured) on the walls and floors," the report said.

When an officer asked him why he was destroying his property, Katchen told them he was angry because his upstairs neighbors make too much noise, the report said, and when asked about the gasoline, he told police he did it because he hates his neighbors and wanted to "burn," before saying he wanted a lawyer.

On Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Tina Ainley said the "facts support the defendant as suffering from a mental disease or disorder," and that he had "threatened death or injury to another."

She said he had "wrapped himself in flammable materials, believing they were non-flammable."

On the charge of attempted arson of an occupied structure, Ainley sentenced him to 7.5 years in the Arizona State Hospital.

Follow Scott Orr on Twitter @AZNewsguy.

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