Crime & Courts

Trial starting for man who allegedly torched wrong McHenry home

WOODSTOCK – Jury selection is underway in the trial of an Elmhurst man who allegedly attempted to burn a person's residence after the two had an argument but lit up the wrong home.

In August 2012, Joseph O. Ziegler, 24, allegedly caused a fire that destroyed two vehicles and left a home at 5113 Westwood Dr. in McHenry uninhabitable. Homeowner Roseanne Aitken was present at the time of the fire but was not injured in the blaze.

Witnesses in the area provided police with information that led them to Ziegler.

Aitken's residence was not Ziegler's intended target, McHenry County Undersheriff Andrew Zinke said at the time. Ziegler had a verbal dispute with an unidentified person before the Aug. 9 incident, and in retaliation he set fire to what he thought was that person's house, but instead started the fire at the wrong residence, Zinke said.

Defense Attorney Edward Edens and Assistant State's Attorney Robert Zalud are questioning potential jurors Monday, and opening arguments will likely take place Tuesday. Judge Sharon Prather is presiding over the case.

The case is likely to last the entire week, Prather said.

Ziegler is charged with aggravated arson, residential arson, three additional counts of arson, and burglary. His bond was $80,000 at the time of his arrest.

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