A teenager who set his family’s home on fire in an attempt to kill his parents has been sentenced to nine years in prison.
17-year-old Mitchell Simon pleaded guilty to charges of attempted aggravated murder and arson after he set his family’s home on fire because his parents disciplined him for inappropriate Facebook posts and for skipping a band practice.
"I want to say that I love them dearly and I'm sorry for getting myself in this spot,” said Simon during his sentencing hearing.
Reports claim that Simon set his home on fire, forcing his father to jump out of a second-floor window and break his ankle in the process. Although both his parents and the psychiatrists that evaluated him believe that he did not intentionally try to kill his parents, the prosecution painted a very vivid picture showing otherwise during trial. Simon reportedly planned to kill his parents ahead of time, even writing in a journal that his goal was to “burn parents alive.”
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"More troubling than anything was the journal writings you had made," said Judge Craig Hedric during court proceedings. "You planned this out. You wanted your mother to 'burn in hell.' You thought about this for a while. This wasn't just something that popped into your head that night."
Simon’s parents say that they have been conflicted about their place in all of this, trying to be parents while also acknowledging themselves as victims.
"I feel like there's two hats I'm wearing today — a parent and a victim,” said Mitchell’s father Perry Simon. “It's been very confusing to me these past seven months as to which one I should be wearing.”
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Despite the defense’s plea for therapy and probation rather than jail time, the judge didn’t feel that either were options considering the seriousness of what Simon did.