Marysville News

Charges added in Marysville arson case

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A man who police say terrorized a Marysville neighborhood by setting a series of fires last summer is facing additional charges, including one accusing him of destroying a family's home.

Danny R. Johnson was arrested in late August and charged with arson a few weeks after a string of fires began. On Jan. 10, a Union County grand jury indicted him on additional charges.

Johnson, 37, lived just a few doors down from the home that police say he torched. The house at 314 W. Eighth St. was ruined, and a family of four lost everything. No one was injured in the fire, but the family lost some pets.

Johnson now faces a second-degree felony charge of aggravated arson, a misdemeanor count of aggravated arson, a fourth-degree felony charge of arson and charges of tampering with evidence and criminal mischief.

The fires began on July 29, when someone cut branches from a tree in a neighborhood yard and set them ablaze. Police now say that was Johnson.

The arson quickly escalated. Over the next several days, a rag was set on fire and tossed under a neighbor's deck, a terry-cloth towel was set ablaze in an alley, and a shed was tampered with but failed to burn, police said.

When news crews went to town to report on the story, Johnson was interviewed by WBNS 10-TV (Channel 10), at which time he said the whole neighborhood was on edge.

"I'm afraid to go to sleep at night," he said. "It's terrifying."

All of the fires occurred within a one-block area and overnight. Police arrested Johnson after an undercover police officer watching the neighborhood saw Johnson throw a burning item out of his bathroom window that landed next to a gas meter.

Union County Prosecutor David Phillips said the indictment took some time because investigators had to wait until all the evidence was tested and returned from laboratories.

Johnson, who is a registered sex offender, is in the Tri-County Regional Jail in Mechanicsburg. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Union County Common Pleas Court on Jan. 30.

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