A jury trial began Monday for a man who allegedly shot at law enforcement after he assaulted his wife and lit his Thompson Township home on fire in September.
Lloyd V. Hicks, 73, who was indicted on two counts of felonious assault, a first-degree felony, and one count each of aggravated arson, a first-degree felony, and abduction, a third-degree felony, was arrested Sept. 5 after he allegedly lit his North CR 29 residence on fire after assaulting his wife and attempting to drag her back inside. He allegedly then shot at law enforcement as he sat behind the residence and watched it burn.
Hicks had been found competent to stand trial in March after he entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.
PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE
Deputy Mark Lawson of Seneca County Sheriff's Office testifies during Lloyd Hicks' trial in Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge Steve Shuff's courtroom Monday afternoon.
During his opening statement Monday, Seneca County Assistant Prosecutor Brian Boos said Hicks confronted his wife Sept. 5 at their home about the progress of roof work on the house. Hicks had thought his wife was involved with the man who was working on the roof, Boos said, and also had become increasingly hostile and threatening toward her in the weeks leading to the incident.
Boos said Hicks also accused his wife of wanting him to die so she could have the house.
"He told her often he was going to burn down the house so that wouldn't happen," Boos said.
After slapping his wife inside the home, she then tried to leave, Boos said, but Hicks allegedly tried to pull her back in to the house and also threw her phone into the yard.
Hicks' wife was able to break free, Boos said, and she then drove to work in Bellevue, where she called police.
After Hicks' wife left the residence, several neighbors then observed flames coming from the residence and also saw Hicks pacing in his backyard, Boos said. One neighbor ran to Hicks and told him his house was on fire.
"Twice they told him the house was on fire and both times he said, 'Get back, I know,'" Boos said.
When fire personnel arrived on the scene, Hicks was standing in the backyard with a gun, Boos said.
"Only when the house was a total loss, he surrendered and let the fire be extinguished," he said.
During the stand-off, Hicks also fired his gun at two Bellevue police officers and at a Seneca County sheriff's deputy.
"As (the Bellevue police) got closer he yelled 'Hey,' and fired the gun at them. A bullet came so close to hitting a detective he could hear the bullet whiz through the grass," Boos said.
Hicks' attorney, Jonathan Stotzer, told the jury Monday the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt Hicks is guilty of every element of his indicted charges. If the state is unable to do so, the jury must then find Hicks not guilty, Stotzer said.
Hicks' trial is scheduled to go through Wednesday.
If convicted of the charges, Hicks could face up to 36 years in prison and a fine of up to $70,000, according to his indictment.