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news from the Prosecutor's Office

20 year old, Middletown man, was found Guilty of Murder and two counts of Aggravated Arson by a Butler County jury
August 09, 2007

Press Release For Immediate Release August 8, 2007

(Hamilton, Ohio) The Butler County Prosecutor announced today the successful prosecution of a dangerous criminal, a self-proclaimed “fire bug.” Adam Collinsworth, a 20 year old, Middletown man, was found Guilty of Murder and two counts of Aggravated Arson by a Butler County jury this morning.

On March 4, 2007, at approximately 1:30 a.m., defendant Collinsworth intentionally set fire to his grandfather, Clarence Collinsworth’s front porch. The fire quickly spread and when emergency personnel arrived, the house was fully engulfed. An upstairs occupant, Herma Gayhart, was able to escape with the help of Middletown officers. Firefighters attempted to rescue Clarence Collinsworth but were unsuccessful due to the intensity of the fire.

Middletown Fire Marshall Brent Hughs testified that the fire was “intentionally set” using an accellerant on the front porch. He further testified that the defendant’s explanation of an “accident” was not consistent with the forensic evidence located and collected from the scene. A jail inmate also testified that defendant had told him that he intentionally set the fire because he was angry with his grandfather, who was kicking him out of the house.

Prosecutor Piper stated, “Adam Collinsworth is an undiagnosed pyromaniac. He has admittedly set numerous fires, thinks he can control fire and finds it peaceful. He murdered his grandfather and is a very dangerous individual.”

“We are very appreciative of the jury’s verdict and grateful for their service. It is not an easy job to sit in judgment of another. We would also like to commend the efforts of Middletown Fire Marshall Brent Hughs and Detective Swartzl with the Middletown Police Department for an excellent job in creating a strong case. Imagine someone setting their own grandfather’s house on fire, with their grandfather in it - Collinsworth should spend the rest of his life in prison,” Piper concluded.

Prior to trial, the Defendant also plea No Contest to 2 counts of Burglary, 4 felony theft offenses, and 2 counts of Arson. After his grandfather death, he stole checks from another elderly neighbor, and he burglarized another neighbor’s house, setting numerous items on fire. The Defendant testified that he “loved his grandfather to death.” He further testified that he set fires almost daily, and he told Detectives that he was very proud of himself because after his “papaw’s” death, he only set 3 fires in 3 weeks.

The defendant faces a life sentence, when he is sentenced on all counts September 13, 2007 at 8:30 a.m., before the Honorable Keith Spaeth.

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For more information contact the Prosecutor's Office at (513) 887-3474
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