CIRCLEVILLE, OH (WCMH) — A man is accused of killing his neighbor in a wheelchair and then setting the victim’s apartment on fire.
A judge with the Circleville Municipal Court ordered a $1 million bond for Gregory Hardman.
According to court documents, Hardman, 33, admitted to beating and ultimately killing his neighbor, 57-year-old Raymond E. Dixon.
Hardman appeared via video for the arraignment, Tuesday morning, after being charged with one count of aggravated murder.
Circleville police say it happened at about 8pm, Monday, at an apartment on W. Main Street, near Scioto Street.
A 911 caller reported smelling smoke and hearing a fire alarm coming from a unit there.
When firefighters arrived on scene, they found a man who had been assaulted and set on fire.
The victim was transferred by helicopter to the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center where he died from his injuries.
Court documents say when Hardman was taken into custody, he told police he originally hid in the victim’s apartment, intending to kill another man.
Hardman allegedly said he mistakenly attacked his neighbor in a wheelchair, hitting him with a wooden club, then suffocating the victim with a plastic bag after realizing he had the wrong person.
Hardman then set the apartment on fire intending to hide the evidence, according to court documents.
Neighbor Donald Largent told NBC4’s Catherine Ross he was horrified to hear about the attack.
“I knew him for a long time. He was pretty nice guy and it’s a shame he had to go this way.”
Police have not officially identified the victim.
Hardman will have a preliminary hearing October 3, but he could face arson charges filed by the State Fire Marshal’s office.
Hardman could face the death penalty if he’s found guilty on the aggravated murder charge.