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Teen Charged in Plot to Kill Parents
LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio (Angenette Levy) -- A 16-year-old Liberty Township honors student was charged Thursday with trying to kill his parents in a plot that's been described as "cold and calculated."
Mitchell Simon faces two counts of attempted murder and aggravated arson. His mother, Sharon, called 911 at 11:30 Wednesday night to report that a fire was burning in her home and she was trapped.
"Help! Help! Our house is on fire," Sharon Simon screamed at the 911 dispatcher. Simon was trapped in her bedroom because her son had roped off the door so she could not escape, according to sheriff's officials.
Her husband, Perry, broke his leg as he jumped from a second-floor window to escape.
Mitchell Simon left the home in his father's car but returned when his mother called him on the phone.
"He had journals, logs, exactly how he was going to do it. Set the house afire, tied the door shut to where the parents couldn't get out the door," said Butler Co. Sheriff Richard K. Jones.
The 40-year law enforcement veteran said he hadn't seen anything like it in his career. He said Simon was apparently angry about being grounded but wouldn't elaborate on what happened prior to the fire.
Mitchell Simon was a junior at Lakota West High School. He played sousaphone in the marching band and was enrolled in honors physics and other advanced placement classes. His band and classmates were shocked to hear about the charges.
"I knew he had problems with his parents but I never assumed they were that bad," said Sally Dufek, a senior who played in the marching band with Simon. She said she last talked to him at band practice Wednesday afternoon.
"He was smiling. We were just talking about class and he seemed fine," Dufek added.
Local 12 News has learned Mitchell Simon wrote dark messages on his Facebook page about hating his parents.
Psychologist Stuart Bassman, Ph.D., hasn't treated Simon but said there are often warning signs, such as writings or preoccupations, that precipitate such violent behavior.
"Rather than focusing on something superficial, we have to go to the roots of this. This is tragic. This is a family abscess. A family problem that has to be addressed, recognized and dealt with," Bassman said.
Simon did not have a criminal record or a history of psychological problems according to Sheriff Jones. He encourages parents to learn from this incident.
"You need to be a parent. You got to go in their room. You got to look around. People may not like that...you look around, you check your kids," Sheriff Jones said.
Jones wants Simon tried as an adult. Butler Co. Prosecutor Mike Gmoser said a juvenile court judge will hold a hearing in the next couple of weeks to determine whether there's enough probable cause to hold Simon. If the judge rules there's probable cause, because of the seriousness of the charges, Simon's case will be bound over to the Grand Jury.
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