Prosecutors: Man set a fire, set up neighbors

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By Tracy McCue, Sumner NewsCow
September 27, 2013 - 4:40:21 pm

Sumner County prosecutors have formally charged a Conway Springs man who is accused of starting a fire at his family’s residence and then planting evidence to implicate neighbors in the crime.

20-year-old Brandon O’Neal is charged with aggravated arson, burglary and other crimes in connection with the fire that occurred June 12. He could face trial as soon as this fall.

O’Neal posted bonds of $25,000 and $50,000 and is out of jail while awaiting trial.

Court officials said O’Neal is accused of setting a fire in Conway Springs where he lived with his father. Donald O’Neal was sleeping in an upstairs bedroom, when his son allegedly set a fire inside the home in the living room downstairs by pouring gasoline on a clothes pile and carpet and then lighting the fire.

Brandon O’Neal is also accused of setting a fire in two outbuildings on the residence, including a small white shed, located behind the residence and another nearby shed.

He is also accused of breaking into a neighbor’s 1995 Chevy pickup and stealing a hammer from the cab. He then is said to have entered a neighbor’s shed and to steal a gas can and two cans of paint.

The items were then planted at the crime scene to implicate those neighbors in the crime. Prosecutors said O’Neal has a grudge against the neighbors, whose residence he burglarized in Sept. 2012 in a separate incident.

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