Arson suspect held without bond

Nicholas Nowotny 

Leonardtown, MD - On Tuesday, May 15, in St. Mary's County District Court, Nicholas Nowotny, 27 of Hollywood, was held without bond pending a competency review.

Nowotny is charged with first-degree arson for allegedly setting his father's house on fire Wednesday, May 9 along Peninsular Drive in Hollywood. The fire destroyed the two-story home. No one was hurt.

According to court documents, a neighbor witnessed Nowotny breaking windows from inside the house about 30 minutes before the fire started. Another neighbor told investigators they saw a blue, four-door car, speed past their house. Not long after that, a vehicle matching the same description crashed into several trees along Jones Wharf Road. Nowotny was identified as the driver.

During the investigation, Nowotny told Deputy Fire Marshal Brandon Shepperd he was a diagnosed schizophrenic. Nowotny went on to tell Shepperd he had been having trouble sleeping because he was worried about his grades at the College of Southern Maryland.

Nowotny went on to tell Shepperd he placed a cigarette on a bed along with a flammable liquid. Nowotny also admitted to pouring gasoline inside the garage and setting it on fire. Shepperd said Nowotny admitted he knew what he did was wrong but he was hearing voices in his head that his father wanted to kill him. During questioning, Nowotny told Shepperd about a similar incident six years ago, in which he destroyed this inside of his father's home.

At the bond review, Assistant State's Attorney Laura Caspar told the court the state does not believe Nowotny needs to be in jail because he needs mental health treatment. However, Caspar went on to say Nowotny needs constant supervision and she did not recommend release.

The Honorable Judge K. Christy Holt Chesser agreed. Holt reviewed Nowotny's medical history and ordered an expedited competency review and held without bond until the review is completed.

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