Man swung ax at wife, sets home on fire

NORFOLK, MA (KTRK) -- Police said a Massachusetts woman threw her husband out of the house Wednesday before he tried to attack her with an ax and set the building on fire.

Authorities were called to the victim's home in Wednesday afternoon after receiving a 911 call from her saying her ex-husband was trying to kill her.

The first officers who arrived at the scene reported the house was on fire, and a man, identified as 71-year-old Allen Stotts, was standing in the driveway holding an ax in his hands.

Police said Stotts told them he had tried to hit the victim with the ax but missed, then set the house on fire with gasoline as the woman hid in the bathroom.

The victim had managed to escape the home, and a passing motorist stopped and let the woman stay in her car awaiting the police and fire response.

The victim was not hurt. The home suffered heavy smoke, fire and water damage.

According to the police report, the victim filed for divorce after 31 years of marriage in December.

The woman had let Stotts stay at the house sleeping on the living room floor, but on Wednesday told him he had to leave, according to the police report.

According to the report Stotts told police he was "pushed to the edge," and "something kept telling me this is the only way you'll get back at her."

Stotts was arrested and charged with attempted homicide, arson of a dwelling, intimidation of a witness, assault with a dangerous weapon and malicious destruction.

The judge has requested a competency hearing for Stotts before an arraignment in court.

Court papers said Stotts worked with the traveling carnival and was often gone from home a year at a time.
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