Stevensville man accused of trying to set parents on fire


A Stevensville man is in jail, accused of trying to set his parents on fire.

Police say he used a gasoline tank and a cigarette lighter, after allegedly losing his temper.

Denzil Bell, 20, was arraigned in a Berrien County courtroom. He faces two felony arson charges that carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Just before two a.m., police were called out to a house north of Coloma on Little Paw Paw Lake Road, that's just west of Paw Paw Lake in Coloma Township.

Police say they were called out to Bell’s parents’ house for a fire in northern Berrien County. The fire apparently started and was contained quickly in the back bedroom.

Bell was visiting his parents Thursday night with his girlfriend and their son.

The couple got into an argument and she drove off with their child.

Bell demanded his parents drive him back to his home in Stevensville.

When they refused, he found a can of gasoline and splashed the gas on their bedroom floor. Bell then started a fire with his lighter that was hidden in his pocket.

Friday afternoon a judge laid out how serious the charges are against Bell.

“Do you understand?” she asked. “No,” Bell responded. “I'm not asking if you did it I'm just asking if you understand what the prosecutor charged you with,” said the judge.

Neighbor Sharon Tavolacci says, “We've never had that kind of excitement around here before. We are used to a very quiet neighborhood. Everybody knows us and they'll wave if we are outside and we're not used to nothing like that.”

Bell's mom and step-dad, Diane and Scott Shriner, are recovering from first and second degree burns.

The step-dad was taken to the Bronson Burn Unit in Kalamzaoo. His wife was released from Lakeland-Watervliet Hospital and was with her husband on Friday afternoon.

In the meantime Bell's bond is set at 250-thousand dollars.

If he bonds out, the judge told him he's not allowed to go near his parents until at least after his preliminary exam hearing in fourteen days.


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