Lower Salem Man charged with Attempted Murder and Aggravated Arson

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On 26 Sep 18 we reported a fire at the Terry Clifton residence called in at approximately 12:39 am.  The Salem, Bethel, and Fearing Volunteer Fire Departments along with Deputies were dispatched to 6466 Germantown Road, Liberty Township, Lower Salem, Ohio.

Clifton advised Deputies he was asleep in an upstairs bedroom on the other side of the residence and woke to see smoke outside his bedroom door.  Clifton and his animals were able to escape, however the house was a total loss.

The Detective Bureau was called to the scene as it appeared the fire started on the outside of the residence.

In speaking with individuals at the scene, and with prior knowledge of an altercation with Clifton and other individuals, Detectives Smeeks and McPeek interviewed Noah Rutter who denied any knowledge or involvement.   Detectives asked Rutter if he would have gasoline residue on his hands and he said he would not.  Rutter later said he may (have gasoline residue on him) from mowing his yard the previous evening.  Detectives observed Rutter’s yard did not appear to have been mowed for some time, nor did he own a lawn mower, and it had rained most of the previous day.

Through investigation Detectives learned of correspondence regarding the fire at Clifton’s with Rutter admitting to the arson.

Detectives returned to Rutter’s residence and interviewed him again.  Rutter confessed to putting gasoline in a bottle with a towel stuffed in the opening, lighting it on fire, and putting it up against the side of Terry Clifton’s residence.  Rutter also confirmed that he knew Clifton was inside the residence when he lit the fire.

The State Fire Marshal reported that the fire was hot enough that if Clifton had not awakened, the fire would have spread to his bedroom.

Noah Luke Rutter, age 21, 6500 Germantown Road, Lower Salem, was placed under arrest for attempted murder and aggravated arson, both first degree felonies.  Rutter was transported to the Washington County Jail where he remained pending a court hearing in Marietta Municipal Court.

On 27 Sep 18 Rutter appeared in Marietta Municipal Court and remains incarcerated on $300,000 bond for both charges.