Suspect in Ashland Church Arson to Have Competency Hearing

Competency Hearing Set for Arson Suspect

A competency hearing has been scheduled for the man Ashland police say set a church on fire.

A doctor is expected to testify on January 27th whether 29–year–old Michael Valente of Cincinnati, OH is competent to stand trial.

He is charged with arson of a building without the owner’s consent and criminal damage to religious property.

The fire broke out on Halloween at Salem Baptist Church.

Authorities say Valente admitted to setting the fire because he had personal problems with the church.

He says his father used to be the pastor there and elder leaders drove his family out.

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