Man charged in arson death of stepfather ruled competent for Miami County trial

TROY — A Miami County judge ruled Thursday that a St. Paris man charged with aggravated murder and aggravated arson in the February death of his stepfather following a house fire in Laura is competent to stand trial and is not insane.

The rulings in the case of Seth Z.R. Johnson, 24, were made by Judge Jeannine Pratt of county Common Pleas Court following evaluations of Johnson at the Forensic Psychiatry Center for Western Ohio.

He is charged in a Feb. 12 explosion and fire in Laura in which Jack Noble, 58, was critically injured. Noble died later in the month.

Johnson has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and is being held on bail of $1 million cash or surety.

Credit: Miami County Jail

Credit: Miami County Jail

Pratt said the evaluations showed Johnson is a mentally ill person but it is not sufficient to inhibit his ability to stand trial. They also showed he does not have a severe mental defect nor suffer from a serious mental health condition.

“The defendant knew the wrongfulness of his alleged offenses charged ... and is not insane,” Pratt said.

A trial date will be set following an attorney’s conference scheduled for May 4.

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