ROYAL OAK (WWJ) – A 50-year-old Oakland County man could spend the rest of his life behind bars for allegedly setting a house fire that killed his mother.
Timothy Beetschen was arraigned Saturday on charges of open murder and first degree arson in connection with the death of his 69-year-old mother, Maxine Hadley.
Investigators say Hadley called Royal Oak police around 1 a.m. Friday to report that her son was attempting to blow up their house in the 1700 block of Altadena, in a neighborhood just east of Main Street and 12 Mile Road.
When officers arrived on the scene, the home was engulfed in flames and Beetschen was attempting to put out the fire with a garden hose.
Officers attempted to gain entry into the home, but were forced back by the heat and smoke. Fire crews responded to the scene and found Hadley’s body in the basement.
Beetschen was arrested at the scene and transported to the hospital for treatment of burns to his legs. No other injuries were reported.
Neighbor Matthew Bainter told WWJ’s Charlie Langton he was at the home, drinking with Beetschen shortly before the incident.
“We were just watching television,” he said. “We had a couple of cold beers and he wanted more and more and more and we were telling him ‘No, you need to go relax and lay down. It’s time to go to bed. It’s getting late.’”
Bainter said that’s when things started to take a turn for the worse.
“He got unruly and he was downstairs, smashing up things and getting out of control,” he said. “[He took] a gas canister, which you would use as a settling torch, because he was a plumber one time, and he was throwing it on the ground. You know, I told him ‘That thing is like a bomb. It’s going to go off.’”
Bainter said at that point, he ran upstairs to warn Hadley about what was happening, but she apparently refused to leave the home.
“I told her ‘We’ve got to get out of this house, it’s going to blow up,’” he said. “At that time, I opened the front door, went out and then I went to my left to see the basement window and sure enough, the whole basement was engulfed in flames and the rest is history.”
Beetschen, who was denied bond, is due back in court on June 6.