Son set fire to Middletown house after father found dead, police say

A Cincinnati man is facing an aggravated arson charge for allegedly setting fire to a Middletown house just three hours after his father was found dead there.

Michael Ray Lewis II, 22, was indicted this week by a Butler County grand jury in connection with the April 17 fire at 601 14th Ave., according to court records and police.

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Middletown police were called to the residence at about 2:25 p.m. April 17 and found Michael Lewis, 42, deceased on the steps. He had been observed by people coming and going from the residence sitting on the steps and at one point, sleeping with labored breathing.

White powder, tourniquets, needle caps and drug paraphernalia were found in the residence, according to a police report.

At 5:20 p.m., police were stopped by a passerby who said the residence was on fire. Heavy smoke was coming from the basement. The back door was open and the burners were left on in the kitchen.

The fire was determined to be an arson, according to police.

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Lewis II was arrested on April 24 for arson. He went to the house and set the fire after his father’s death, according to Lt. Jimmy Cunningham.

The father’s cause of death is still pending, according to Martin Schneider, Butler County Coroner’s Office administrator. Cunningham said his death is a suspected overdose.

Lewis II is housed in the Butler County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bond.