Connellsville woman held for court on Bullskin car fire charges
Charges against a Connellsville woman who allegedly set fire to a car in front of her boyfriend's Bullskin home following an argument this year were held for court by District Judge Ronald Haggerty Jr. on Thursday.
Kaitlyn Mckenzie Dewitt, 22, of 2119 Second St. was charged with reckless burning or exploding and two counts of criminal mischief and harassment.
During her preliminary hearing on Thursday, Michael Nicklow, Dewitt's boyfriend, was called to the witness stand first by Fayette County Assistant District Attorney Mark Brooks, who asked him to relate the incident that occurred Feb. 12 and 13.
“I can't remember,” Nicklow said and repeated he did not remember when Brooks asked him again.
“Do you have amnesia?” Brooks asked.
“Yes. Yes, I do,” Nicklow answered.
At that point, Brooks excused himself to speak privately to Nicklow. When they returned, Nicklow took the stand again and began his testimony.
Nicklow said he, Dewitt and his brother Jeremy Nicklow were at the Willow Inn on Route 201 in Dunbar Township on the night of Feb. 12. They left the bar about 9:30 p.m. to pick up his and Dewitt's infant son before heading home. During the ride, Dewitt and Michael Nicklow were arguing. They were sitting in the front seat of the vehicle. Nicklow was driving.
Jeremy Nicklow was in the back seat with the infant.
“She (Dewitt) was hitting him in the face while he was driving, and he was trying to block her,” Nicklow testified during Thursday's hearing.
Nicklow testified that he instructed his brother to pull off the roadway when he had a chance. Michael Nicklow pulled into the Bullskin Sheetz where Jeremy Nicklow pulled Dewitt out of the car and instructed his brother to drive the infant home.
Michael Nicklow drove out of the Sheetz parking lot while Dewitt chased the car, trying to open one of its doors.
About 2 a.m. Feb. 13, the Nicklow brothers were sleeping in their Bullskin home when they heard banging noises on the windows of the residence.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Michael Nicklow opened the door to see Dewitt, who told him she wanted to see her son and if she was not going to be invited in the house, she was going to burn it down. She then punched Nicklow in the face and grabbed his eyeglasses and broke them; he closed the door.
Jeremy Nicklow said he awakened and looked outside to see the car they had driven from The Willow Inn on fire in the driveway.
“I said, ‘Michael, your car's on fire,' ” Jeremy Nicklow said. He testified that he ran to the car to throw water on the engulfed interior with no results.
The Bullskin Township Volunteer Fire Department was called to extinguish the fire.
At one point, Jeremy Nicklow said he saw Dewitt walking around the driveway. He confronted her about the car fire. Nicklow testified that Dewitt told him that she had to stay warm.
“And then she snickered,” Nicklow said.
Dewitt, who chose to represent herself during the preliminary hearing, did not cross-examine the witnesses. She did not take the stand in her defense.
Trooper Robert Broadwater of the state police at Uniontown testified that an investigation was conducted on the car fire and it was determined that arson was the cause. Gasoline was used as an accelerant, he said.
Haggerty held all charges to county court with a formal arraignment set for 9:30 a.m. May 16 in Courtroom Four of the Fayette County Courthouse in Uniontown.
Dewitt is free on $5,000 bond.
Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Judge rules in favor of Seven Springs Mountain Resort over road closure
- Fayette twins injured as newborns expected to be adopted by foster mother
- HObo Model Railroad Club display back in Connellsville
- Organizations benefit from grants
- Owner challenges vacant designation in Connellsville
- CASD’s Mustache Club lends hand
- Lost bear hunter from Westmoreland County located
- Black Friday could be a wet one in Connellsville, Mt. Pleasant areas
- RAPTOR program explained in Connellsville
- Depleted Connellsville food bank in need of supplies
- Former Laurel Highlands choral teacher sentenced on sex charge