A man accused of starting a fire in his Centralia apartment in October was arrested Tuesday on unrelated assault charges after he allegedly fought with officers investigating a suspected theft.
The defendant, Robert W. Landry, 36, of Centralia, was charged with first-degree arson on Monday, Dec. 5, for a fire that broke out inside Landry’s unit at the Reliable Enterprises Apartment Complex in Centralia on Oct. 14.
The reporting party told the 911 dispatcher that “Landry just ran out, stating there was a four-foot fire in his apartment, then ran back inside,” and advised “this was the second fire Robert (Landry) had set today,” according to court documents.
Landry allegedly fled the scene before fire crews and law enforcement responded.
Investigators reportedly confirmed the fire started from a pile of paper on the stove “that was intentional(ly) set,” saying “it appeared Robert ignited the paper from the top of the pile,” according to court documents.
The apartment manager reportedly confirmed there were approximately 36 residences in the complex, with half of them on the second floor where Landry allegedly lit the fire.
“With Robert’s apartment being closest to the stairwell, it would make it extremely hard for neighbors to (leave) the complex if the fire became fully involved and started to spread,” wrote a prosecuting attorney in the affidavit of probable cause.
The Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office initially planned to handle that case as a summons, meaning Landry would get a notice in the mail with the time and date of his hearing and be allowed to remain out of custody for his preliminary appearance.
However, when Landry was arrested for an unrelated case on Tuesday, Dec. 6, the prosecutor’s office decided to handle both cases during the same hearing.
In that second case, Landry is accused of fighting officers who were arresting him for disorderly conduct following a suspected theft report.
Officers with the Centralia Police Department responded to the 500 block of Davis Street just after 11:35 p.m. on Dec. 6 for a report of a suspected theft and reportedly found Landry “pulling wire off of a telephone pole” and saw him “stomping his feet, yelling and (being) uncooperative with officer commands,” according to court documents.
During the altercation, Landry is accused of scratching an officer’s hands, wrapping his arms around a sergeant’s legs “to try and tackle him,” and grabbing the barrel of an officer’s 44mm handgun, which was loaded with a less-lethal round.
Landry was booked into the Lewis County Jail at 12:20 p.m. on Dec. 6 and has since been charged with two counts of third-degree assault and first-degree attempted unlawful possession of a firearm.
“I know that he (Landry) is quite distraught with the charging,” said Defense Attorney Rachael Tiller during Landry’s preliminary hearing on Wednesday, referring specifically to the arson charge.
That charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
The third-degree assault charges carry maximum penalties of five years in prison, while the attempted possession of a firearm charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
A judge set Landry’s bail at $25,000 for the arson case and $50,000 for the assault case, for a total of $75,000 Landry would have to post to be released.
His arraignment hearings on both cases are scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 15.