2 of 3 men charged in Middletown arson indicted by grand jury

4:01 p.m Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017 Middletown
James Thompson (top left) and Wesley Hudgel (top right) have been indicted by a Butler County grand jury in connection with a fire that destroyed a garage and damaged three houses in Middletown.

A Butler County grand jury has returned indictments against two of three men arrested in July in connection with a fire that destroyed a garage and damaged three houses on Woodside Boulevard.

Wesley Hudgel, 19, of Woodside Boulevard, was indicted Wednesday for aggravated arson, arson, disruption of public services and obstructing official business. James Thompson, 19, of Woodside Boulevard was indicted for arson, aggravated arson, and disrupting public services.

But the grand jury declined to return charges against Trevor Skief, 19, also of Woodside Boulevard. He was originally charged with arson other charges.

MORE: Three men charged in Middletown arson will face grand jury

The men shot a flare gun into the window of the garage in the 1203 block of Woodside Boulevard on July 5, according to a police report.

During a July 17 preliminary hearing in Middletown Municipal Court, Police Detective Steve Winters testified there had been an ongoing dispute in the neighborhood involving racial slurs directed at the owner of the residence where the garage was destroyed.

“There was an ongoing situation in the neighborhood with people picking on (the homeowner),” Winters said.

A previous case is pending against Hudgel for allegedly breaking into the neighbor’s house and stealing a vehicle title and air conditioning unit, according to Winters.

MORE: Several people taken into custody after Middletown fire

The detective said the flare gun used in the incident was stolen from Walmart.

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