Police: Arson suspect upset he had to move out — (The Columbian)

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The Columbian

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published: June 16, 2014, 11:17 AM

 A Vancouver man may have set fire to a house he shared with his former boyfriend because he was upset that he had to move out after the couple’s break-up, court records show.

Timothy C. Meagher, 57, had recently learned from an attorney that his partner of 17 years, James L. Hansen, 52, would retain ownership of the house because Hansen had owned the house prior to Meagher moving in, Clark County sheriff’s Detective Beth Luvera wrote in a court affidavit.

Meagher made a first court appearance Monday morning in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree arson domestic violence.

He shuffled into the courtroom wearing shackles and a green suicide smock, indicating he is on a suicide watch at the Clark County Jail.  Judge Gregory Gonzales held him in lieu of $100,000 bail. Deputy Prosecutor Julie Carmena requested bail in that amount because Meagher tried to hide from law enforcement after the fire.  He also may have taken some Zoloft pills, she said.

“We have some concerns about his safety, as well,” she said.   Gonzales appointed Vancouver attorney George Marlton to defend Meagher.  He is scheduled to be arraigned on the charge June 25.

Court documents claim that Meagher focused on some of Hansen’s most treasured possessions when he started four separate fires Friday afternoon in the house at 6208 N.E. Wilding Road in the Sunnyside neighborhood. He poured gasoline on Hansen’s favorite recliner and on an heirloom lace tablecloth that had belonged to Hansen’s mother, Luvera noted. Another fire was started downstairs in the family room, where Hansen’s favorite recliner was located.

No injuries were reported. Damage was estimated at about $100,000, according to the sheriff’s office.

Hansen said he saw Meagher drive by his workplace during his lunch hour Friday and thought Meagher might be stalking him, court records say.

A neighbor, Tim Robinson, saw Meagher enter the house about 12:45 p.m. About an hour later, he saw smoke wafting from the eaves and called 911.

Meagher was apprehended at a cabin in Cougar owned by his employer. A sheriff’s bulletin said Meagher did not have permission to be in the cabin, and a neighbor alerted authorities after noticing a suspicious vehicle parked in front of it. Luvera said that Meagher hid in the woods for about 15 minutes before surrendering to law enforcement.

Meagher refused to give a statement to detectives, court records say.