MIDDLETOWN–A Middletown, OH man is now facing felony charges after data from his pacemaker provides evidence for his indictment. Ross Compton, 59, has been indicted on felony charges from a fire at his home that caused more than $400,000 in damages. The charges included aggravated arson and insurance fraud for the Sep 19, 2016 fire.
Authorities said Compton had been a suspect since his 9-1-1 call. He told dispatchers everyone was out of his home, but at the end of the call he can be heard saying “get out of here now.”
Middletown police have stated that Compton’s statements have been “inconsistent.” He told the authorities that as soon as he saw the fire, he began to pack his things in suitcases and bags. Compton said he proceeded to break his bedroom window with his cane and hurled his belongings out the shattered window. He then collected and placed his items inside his vehicle.
Knowing Compton has a substantial history with medical issues and uses an artificial heart implant (a pacemaker), police obtained a search warrant for all data stored in his pacemaker. Authorities retrieved Compton’s heart rate, pacer demand, and cardiac rhythms before, during and after the fire.
“It is highly improbable Mr. Compton would have been able to collect, pack and remove the number of items from the house, exit his bedroom window and carry numerous large and heavy items to the front of his residence during the short period of time he has indicated due to his medical conditions,” said the cardiologist who reviewed the data.
Neighbors said they woke to “loud explosions” around 6:30 am. One neighbor said he saw huge flames from across the street, alerted the authorities and ran across the street to help. He said he saw Compton carrying a computer tower while two other men fled from the property. The neighbor did not recognize the men and was concerned the fire would engulf trees near Compton’s home and cause a chain reaction.
Firefighters arrived on scene six minutes after being dispatched and had the fire under control within thirty minutes. Police treated the scene like a criminal investigation and returned six hours later with a search warrant. Along with the data, police removed clothing, paperwork, and computers from Mr. Compton’s home and Mr. Compton.
Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Spaulding estimated the fire damages around $400,000 on Compton’s 2,000-square-foot-home. The 1977 home was valued at $179,000, according to the Butler County Auditor’s website.