State's Attorney Releases Centralia Man Accused of Setting His Wife's Leg on Fire After Finding Problems With Her Story
Marion County State's Attorney Matt Wilzbach has released a 40-year-old Centralia man who had been arrested by Centralia Police Thursday for aggravated domestic battery for allegedly setting his wife's legs on fire.
Wilzbach says he made the decision to release Fernando Calcutt of Howard Street because the story given to police by his wife Inez did not match up with evidence in the case. The prosecutor notes flames don't remain open on cigarette lighters for long periods of time that would allow them to be thrown and start a fire. Inez indicated the fire started on her legs from the lighter after her husband had thrown gasoline on her as she was trying to leave the house. She told police she was able to put the fire out by patting her legs and using a nearby can of beer to extinguish the fire. Inez was treated and released at SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital for her injuries.
Wilzbach believes Fernando Calcutt's story to police is more creditable. He claimed to have been carrying a gas can to start a pit fire outside the home and dropped the can when a flash fire started when he lit a cigarette. Fernando maintained the gasoline getting on his wife was an accident as well as the starting of the fire on her leg that caused second degree burns. Wilzbach says there was evidence of a smoldering fire in an area outside the home.
The incident occurred on February 7th. Calcutt was arrested Thursday after coming in for questioning by Centralia Police.
Wilzbach says since there were no signs of injury that Fernando had earlier struck his wife with his fist in the face, it would be difficult to proceed on that portion of the allegation without further evidence.
The State's Attorney notes the case is not closed if Centralia Police can get a further statement for Inez about the incident that supports her story. Wilzbach said further compounding the case is that the Calcutt's are apparently back together again.
Fernando Calcutt was the victim of a shooting in Centralia last September that led to the arrest earlier this week of 25-year-old Charles Collins on charges of attempted first degree murder and aggravated battery. Calcutt was allegedly shot in the right arm as Collins fired shots from the car he was riding into Calcutt's vehicle. Calcutt was treated and released at St. Mary's Hospital for his injuries. Collins remains in custody in Battle Creek, Michigan in lieu of a half-million dollars bond where he was arrested on the outstanding warrant.