Mitchell Simon: Liberty Twp. teen who set his home on fire pleads not guilty by reason of insanity

LIBERTY TWP., Ohio -- The 16-year-old boy accused of trying to kill his parents by setting their house on fire pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in a Butler County courtroom Wednesday.

The attorney for Mitchell Simon said the teenager was incompetent to stand trial.

Mitchell Simon was charged with two counts of attempted aggravated murder and one count of aggravated arson on Jan. 22 by a grand jury.

He was arrested in November for what police call a "cold and calculated plot" in which he is accused of locking his parents in their bedroom and setting their Tarragon Court home on fire on Oct. 23 to murder them.

RELATED: Teen accused in house fire plot to kill parents will be tried as an adult

After his arrest, investigators say they found records and journals written by the teen depicting how he was going to set fire to the home. The journal included information on how he would tie the door shut to his parents' bedroom so they couldn't escape.

Simon's 50-year-old father jumped from a second-story window to save his own life. Liberty Township fire crews rescued the teen's mother from the blaze.

In interviews, Liberty Township police say Mitchell admitted to his actions.

"By the end of the interview, Mitchell had admitted that his intent that evening was to inflict as much bodily harm on his parents as possible without injuring himself," said Rob Owens, the detective in the case.

Despite the situation, his mother, Sharon Simon, still stands by her son's side, saying she just "doesn't believe it." 

In a WCPO interview the 56-year-old woman described her son as a typical teenager, with no history of troubling behavior.

“It’s been very lonely not having Mitchell around,” Sharon Simon said.

MORE: Mother supports son accused of plotting to kill her

If convicted on the attempted murder charges, Mitchell Simon faces up to 22 years in prison. 

In the hearing to determine if Mitchell Simon would tried as an adult in November,  defense lawyer Brad Kraemer argued that his client has mental health issues and shouldn’t be tried as an adult.

"We've lost sight of the fact that this is a kid who has some mental health issues that need to be addressed,” Kraemer said while defending Simon to a judge. “I understand that your hands are tied in terms of probable cause, but I only hope that this case comes back here so that this kid can get the help that he needs because being in adult court is the last place this kid needs to be."

Mitchell Simon's trial is set to begin at 8 a.m. April 14.

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