Carroll County man found ‘incompetent to stand trial’ in arson-murder case; ordered to behavior facility for treatment

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Arlen Atkinson, a Carroll County man accused of setting his housemate on fire which resulted in his death, has been found incompetent to stand trial after a competency hearing this week.

Atkinson was arrested on January 23 after authorities said he poured gasoline on Scott Hupp and set fire to him. The suspect pulled the door shut and Hupp later died at the hospital. The two lived together in an independent living facility in Carroll County, according to investigators.

The defendant told investigators that he and the victim were arguing before the incident. Atkinson claims Hupp called him racist against the amish and that is what started the argument.

On Wednesday, April 14, a judgement entry was filed in the Carroll County Common Pleas Court after Atkinson appeared for a competency hearing Monday. According to the judgement, the court “finds that the defendant is incompetent to stand trial and is subject to hospitalization by court order.” Carroll County Prosecutor Steven Barnett told JMN that the court experts found Atkinson to be incompetent. The court ordered him to be transported and hospitalized at Heartland Behavioral Healthcare Center for a period not to exceed one year.

The goal of the court order is to allow Atkinson to “participate in inpatient treatment.” Per the court order, he will be restricted to the grounds of the facility and is not permitted to leave.

When Atkinson’s time at the behavioral facility concludes, the court will receive a report from his treating physician or examiner and the case may resume where it left off if the court believes competency was restored.