A trial has been set for an Ashley man charged with arson and attempted aggravated murder for allegedly starting a fire at his home with his mother inside in January.
Christopher M. Richardson, 26, appeared in Delaware County Common Pleas Court Monday morning where he entered a not guilty plea to one count of attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony and two counts of arson, one first-degree felony and one second-degree felony.
Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David Gormley accepted his plea and scheduled him to stand trial on March 28. Prosecutors estimate the trial will take several days because the technicality of the fire marshal’s report will require extensive testimony.
Prosecutors allege that on Jan. 28 Richardson started a fire at the 10 Vine Street, Ashley home he shares with his mother, Donna Marie Richardson, 57, with her still inside.
Gormley said Richardson faces between three to eleven years in prison for the first-degree felony charges and between two to eight years in prison for the second-degree arson charge.
Additionally, Gormley decreased the $500,000 bond that had been set for Christopher Richardson on Jan. 30 in Delaware Municipal Court to $350,000. Gormley also scheduled Richardson for a pretrial hearing on March 13 at 9:30 a.m.
On the morning of Jan. 28, officials received numerous calls about a house fire at 10 Vine Street, in Ashley and fire fighters were immediately dispatched. According to the 911 call, Donna Richardson was able to leave the house before firefighters arrived, but could not locate her son and believed he was still inside.
“The house is just burning and Chris… We can’t find him,” a neighbor told the dispatcher in the 911 call. The neighbor said that Donna Richardson along with other neighbors had thrown bricks through Christopher’s window in an attempt to find him and had walked around the burning home to try and locate him.
Richardson was apprehended later that day. He was in the Delaware County Jail Monday.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.