Liberty Township teen accused of trying to kill parents competent to stand trial

A teen accused of tying his parents’ bedroom doors shut and setting their Liberty Township house on fire is competent to stand trial, according to results of a forensic psychological evaluation.

Defendant Mitchell Simon, 17, learned the results Wednesday morning during a hearing inside a Butler County courtroom.

Last month, Simon’s defense attorney Brad Kraemer entered a not guilty by reason of insanity plea and questioned whether his client was competent to stand trial.

As a result, Butler County Common Pleas Judge Craig Hedric ordered a psychologist to evaluate Simon, who is charged with two counts of attempted aggravated murder and one count of aggravated arson.

The competency report concludes Simon understands the charges against him and is capable of assisting his attorney in his defense.

Hedric set the trial date for June 2. Kraemer said he plans to present evidence to back up the insanity plea during the trial, according to a report from the Journal-News .

Simon, a junior and an honor-roll student at Lakota West, was indicted Jan. 22 on the first-degree felony charges. He faces up to 22 years in prison if convicted on the attempted murder charges.

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Simon's parents, Perry and Sharon Simon, declined to comment on the results of the hearing, according to Journal-News reporter Laura Peck.

Peck wrote that the suspect's parents have attended all of his court appearances and been in his corner since the night of Oct. 23 when he allegedly set the Tarragon Court home ablaze.

The prosecution contends Simon went to the basement of the home, found rope and used it to tie his parent’s bedroom doors shut. He then retrieved a gas can from the garage and set the house on fire, according to evidence presented at a hearing in juvenile court last month.

In interviews, Liberty Township police say the suspect 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 Ron Owens, the detective in the case.

Despite the situation, 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 months after she was rescued by Liberty Township fire crews from her home. Perry Simon, 50, jumped from a second-story window to save his own life.

A journal investigators say they found in the nightstand of Simon’s room reportedly depicts how Simon planned to set fire to the home. The journal also highlights the anger the teen had with his parents and himself, according to testimony given during the hearing.

According to the Journal-News, several pages of the journal were shown during the 30-minute hearing. Some writings included, “My parents are judgmental, racist (expletive),” “I hate my parents, they don’t understand me. If only they would stop snooping around,” and “They need to stop controlling my life, I am not a puppet.”

Kraemer said after his client was indicted that he believes the teen’s actions were not specifically to harm his parents and were more a cry for help.

"We've lost sight of the fact that this is a kid who has some mental health issues that need to be addressed,” he 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."

The teen is housed in the county juvenile detention center where he will remain while the case is pending.

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