Arson suspect must undergo further mental assessment – The Suffolk News-Herald

Man accused of setting fire to downtown Suffolk Tower apartment building will undergo a new mental assessment at Eastern State Hospital in Williamsburg following a district court hearing General of Suffolk.

Herbert Boothe, 69, appeared via video from Western Tidewater Regional Jail, where he was being held without bail.

“He is currently not competent to stand trial,” Boothe’s lawyer, Deputy Public Defender LeRon Gilchrist, said at a hearing on October 4.

At his previous hearing on August 30, Gilchrist asked Boothe to undergo a mental assessment.

Boothe, who had lived on the fifth floor of the building in apartment 518, according to a criminal complaint, is charged with arson of an occupied accommodation in connection with the three-alarm fire of July 13 which displaced 118 residents and forced them to be housed. in city hotels and find other accommodation.

According to the criminal complaint, Boothe “admitted to setting (sic) the fire in his apartment by lighting a burning chair with a lighter”.

He was also charged, according to other criminal complaints, with bodily harm for allegedly spitting in the face of a Suffolk police officer, and attempted sexual assault for allegedly scratching someone in the chest and arm. Both incidents were said to have taken place at Sentara Obici hospital, where Boothe was being treated after the fire.

The next hearing in the case will be on December 7 at 9 a.m. at the Suffolk General District Court.

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