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Elkins man jailed on arson charge

December 3, 2012
By Katie Kuba - Senior Staff Writer ( , The Inter-Mountain

An Elkins man is being held on a $25,000 cash-only bond after he allegedly set fire to his residence.

The Elkins Police Department arrested Josue Mateo Bonilla, 29, of Elkins, Nov. 28 for first-degree arson following an incident during which he allegedly set fire to the trailer he was renting, along with a pile of clothes given to him by the woman with whom he was living.

According to the criminal complaint in the Randolph County Magistrate Clerk's Office, Patrolman B.D. Tice and Cpl. C.D. Cross were dispatched at approximately 8:45 p.m. to a trailer in Heavner Acres to investigate a disturbance. Upon arrival, Dave Ware, Bonilla's landlord, informed Cross and Tice that it appeared the trailer was on fire and that he had seen one of its occupants - Bonilla - carrying a pan of water outside to dump on the fire.

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Police entered the trailer, located Bonilla and performed a frisk search on him; upon conducting the search, they located a small pill container containing 2 mg of Clonazepam and a syringe in his left front pocket, police said.

When Tice asked Bonilla what items were burning behind the trailer, Bonilla replied, "My clothes that were given to me by (the alleged victim) as presents. I don't want any reminders; we're done," according to the complaint Tice submitted.

Ware showed the officers damages to the underpinning of the trailer that were allegedly caused by Bonilla "willfully and maliciously" setting fire to a pile of clothes, which contained a pair of women's underwear and an assortment of children's clothing. Ware said the fire spread from the clothes to the underpinning of the trailer, scorching and melting it, the report stated.

According to the complaint, police had issued a protective order against Bonilla following a domestic incident involving the female resident earlier in the day.

Bonilla remained incarcerated in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail awaiting preliminary hearing as of presstime.

Contact Katie Kuba by email at



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