Wayne man accused of arson rejects plea offer

A scheduled plea hearing for a Wayne man accused of arson ended with him being escorted out of the courtroom.

Aaron Shomody, 29, was transported from jail Thursday to the courtroom of Wood County Common Pleas Judge Joel Kuhlman.

Assistant Prosecutor Morgan Spitler outlined the plea agreement but when asked if he agreed, Shomody said no.

Despite numerous sidebars with his attorney, Steve Spitler, Shomody became argumentative and repeatedly said he would not enter a plea until he was able to tell his side of the story.

After repeatedly interrupting Kuhlman, Shomody was escorted out of the courtroom.

He had been indicted in September for two separate arson incidents. The charges in each case were two counts of aggravated arson, one a first-degree felony and one a second-degree felony.

As part of the plea deal outlined by Morgan Spitler, the two first-degree felonies would be dismissed if Shomody pleaded guilty to the lesser charges.

“I was defending my own well being,” Shomody said when asked if he agreed with the state’s offer.

Kuhlman cut him off and reminded him that everything he said was on the record.

“I need to know if you want to take the plea deal or not,” Kuhlman asked.

Shomody said he understood the allegations against him but asked why he could not speak.

At this point, court security stood and placed themselves near the defendant.

Kuhlman asked again for a complete admission.

“Not unless I can explain my story,” Shomody said.

The judge said Shomody can speak at sentencing.

“I want to speak right now. I have the right to speak as an American citizen,” Shomody said.

“I’m about to claim my innocence,” he said after another sidebar with his attorney.

He then said he wanted to fire Spitler as his defense attorney.

Spitler said he was retained by Shomody’s parents and would like to stay on the case.

“My parents aren’t in charge. I’m an adult,” Shomody said. “I have the right to take this to trial.”

It was at this point Kuhlman sent Shomody out of the courtroom and to an enclosed room with a speaker system so he could still hear the proceedings.

On June 10, 2022, the Wood County Sheriff’s Office was called to the 12000 block of Caskie Road in Wayne for a fire that appeared to have been deliberately set. The responding deputy observed burn and scorch marks on the exterior of the front door, surrounding area and front porch.

The homeowner reported that at approximately 5 a.m., she and other occupants of the home awoke and smelled smoke. In opening the front door, they discovered a partially burned bag of mulch. At that time, nothing else on the porch was actively burning.

Deputies located several operational video cameras in the area. While viewing the video, the homeowner reportedly recognized Shomody entering the area around 4:30 a.m. He reportedly approached the residence and splashed liquid from a cylindrical container on the front door and porch. He allegedly then opened a box of what appeared to be wooden kitchen matches, lit one and threw it at the residence with no result.

Shomody then was allegedly observed moving the bag of mulch from the front yard to the front porch, lit another match and threw it at the house. This time, a large sudden flame reaching 8 feet high or higher was observed.

Shomody then departed the area.

He was known to the two deputies who viewed the video due to numerous previous interactions with the sheriff’s office.

Deputies went to his home and located Shomody sleeping in his bedroom. He was taken into custody without incident. After being read his Miranda rights, Shomody reportedly admitted to setting the fire, the method of setting the fire, and his intent to travel to the residence with the plan of “getting rid” of the occupants.

He reportedly also told deputies he had traveled to a home in the 10000 block of Pemberville Road immediately afterward with the purpose of setting the residence on fire.

A search of his vehicle reportedly located a cylindrical plastic can that contained what appeared to be gasoline and a box of wooden kitchen matches.

The F2 aggravated arson charge is for causing harm to an occupied structure.

After being arrested June 10, 2022, Shomody was referred to court diagnostics for a competency to stand trial evaluation.

On Aug. 10, 2022, court diagnostics found Shomody competent to stand trial.

A status pretrial was scheduled for Aug. 31 with a three-day trial set to start Oct. 30.

Shomody remains in jail with a cash bond set at $505,000, no 10%.