Arson charges against man who allegedly started fire with wife, her children in home sent to a grand jury

Maston Murphy, of Middletown, was charged with six counts of felony arson and the case was bound over to a Butler County grand jury. MIDDLETOWN CITY JAIL
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Maston Murphy, of Middletown, was charged with six counts of felony arson and the case was bound over to a Butler County grand jury. MIDDLETOWN CITY JAIL

Felony arson charges against a Middletown man who allegedly started a fire that spread to a house with his wife and her two children inside were sent to a Butler County grand jury this week, according to court documents.

Maston Murphy, 36, was charged with four counts of aggravated arson, first-degree felonies, and two counts of arson, second-degree felonies, according to Middletown Municipal Court records. Judge James Sherron sent the case to a Butler County grand jury following Murphy’s preliminary hearing on Monday afternoon.

His cash, surety or property bond had been set at $430,000, according to court documents.

Murphy was charged with six felony counts of arson after he allegedly started his wife’s Jeep on fire and flames spread to her house while she and her children were sleeping.

Murphy, who confessed to starting the fire by pouring gasoline on the Jeep, was arrested by Middletown police on Jan. 1, a few hours after the fire, according to police records and fire officials.

His wife, Brittani Murphy, 30, said she was sleeping at 6:30 a.m. New Year’s Day when she heard a loud knock at her front door. A neighbor told her flames were visible. She went to the bathroom and saw flames shooting through the window, she said.

She quickly got her two daughters, ages 8 and 6, out of the house. The three suffered minor smoke inhalation, according to the fire report.

The fire was “pretty terrifying,” Murphy said.

Murphy said her husband allegedly started her Jeep that was parked under an attached carport on fire and the flames reached the house. A Jeep she was borrowing from her mother also was ruined in the fire, she said.

Lt. Frank Baughman from the Middletown Division of Fire said two residences in the 1900 block of Baltimore Street were damaged. The home were the Murphys lived suffered $20,000 in damages to the property and $10,000 to the contents. Those estimates don’t include the two Jeeps, Baughman said.

Murphy and her daughters are living with family as she tries to raise enough money to find another residence, she said. A GoFundMe account has been established.

She said most of their possessions, including Christmas presents, were destroyed in the fire.

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