WAPAKONETA — The young Wapakoneta man charged with arson in connection with a December fire at a downtown Wapakoneta landmark told police he was a demon known as “Bohevin” and “talked about going to the gates of hell,” according to court documents that are the targets of suppression motions filed by the man’s attorney.
Gerald Siesel, the attorney for 20-year-old Wesley Slaughter, last week filed motions in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court to exclude from evidence any statements and all made by his client to police during and after his arrests on Dec. 24 as a suspect in a fire at the Koneta Hotel in downtown Wapakoneta. A separate motion seeks to have evidence that resulted from a search conducted on Slaughter’s apartment similarly excluded.
The documents in question also reveal that Slaughter had been subject to psychiatric hospitalization at least three times during the 12 months leading up to the Wapakoneta blaze.
Wapakoneta firefighters were dispatched shortly after 11 p.m. Dec. 23 to the structure at 1 Perry St., which housed two dozen occupants. Firemen found smoke coming from several windows of the building and flames coming from an apartment on the front of the structure.
The occupants of the motel portion of the building were exiting the structure upon firefighters’ arrival, and all were able to escape safely.
By the following afternoon, Slaughter, a resident of the building, had been arrested and charged with arson. The arresting officer, Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Alex Lampert, reportedly found Slaughter walking on U.S. 33 near the intersection of County Road 33A at approximately 2 a.m. on Dec. 24. When approached by Lampert, Slaughter “dropped to the ground and began acting in a weird manner, which included him mentioning he was going to the gates of hell,” according to court documents. In response to questioning, Slaughter also reportedly indicated he was attempting to go to Botkins and jump off a cliff in order to kill himself.”
According to an affidavit written by Lt. Shannon Place of the Wapakoneta Police Department, Slaughter was subsequently issued his Miranda rights and agreed to talk to investigators. Place said the Wapakoneta man said that at some point during the preceding day he had awakened and was “hearing voices from shadow people who were telling him to burn his apartment and go kill himself.”
The lieutenant said Slaughter indicated he had “used a lighter to light a book on fire and tossed the book into a box of clothing until it began to burn and then he has no memory of exiting the apartment, the building or hearing or seeing police cruisers as they approached.”
According to the affidavit, one or more residents of the Koneta Hotel told police they saw Slaughter running away from the building shortly after the fire began.
Siesel, in his motions, argues that the search of Slaughter’s apartment is “overly-broad” in its scope and represents a violation of his client’s “constitutionally-protected expectation of privacy.” The defense attorney also requested an evidentiary hearing to demonstrate that Slaughter’s statements to investigators “were obtained in violation of his constitutional rights.”
Two separate psychologists have examined Slaughter and each determined his is competent to stand trial. No trial date has been set in the case at this time.