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Middletown man ordered to stand trial on arson charges

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Carl Eugene Nelson

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – A Middletown man is ordered to stand trial on an arson charge following a preliminary hearing last Wednesday. Carl Eugene Nelson, 18, is alleged to have set fire to the front porch and siding of a home on Catherine Street in Middletown during the early morning hours of August 18.

Five of the home’s nine residents were inside, including small children. One of the residents was awake and smelled the fire, and was able to extinguish the flames shortly before they reached the main gas line entering the home.

Arson investigators were able to determine that the fire was intentionally set. Witnesses described a prior confrontation between Nelson and one of the residents of the home. Another witness testified that Nelson told him that he was going to “get back” at the resident prior to going to the Catherine Street home. That witness then saw Nelson approach and dwell at the home for a short time, then run away from the home with a “bright light” (later determined to be the fire) behind him.

Nelson is scheduled for formal arraignment on November 18.  He remains at Dauphin County Prison in lieu of $250,000 bail.