Foreclosed Arson Suspect Remains Jailed After Judge Leaves Bond at $1.5 Million

Fire

Arson suspect remains jailed after judge leaves bond at $1.5 million

STUART — A judge Friday refused to lower the $1.5 million bond that’s holding a Lake Park man accused of torching a home he lost to foreclosure and critically injuring a firefighter who fought the blaze.

Joseph Edward Haas, 47, remained at the Martin County jail after a brief appearance in court to face charges of arson, grand theft and arson resulting in injury.

“I didn’t burn the house down intentionally,” Haas said Thursday in handcuffs as Martin County sheriff’s deputies took him into custody.

Investigators say on Dec. 27, Haas went to his former home at 1151 S.W. Blue Water Way, doused it with gasoline and set it on fire. His motive, authorities have said, was to prevent anyone else from living in the western Martin County home he built that was taken by the bank in a foreclosure action.

The blaze severely burned Martin County firefighter Jahwann McIntyre, who remains hospitalized, and injured two other firefighters.

Chief Assistant State Prosecutor Tom Bakkedahl on Friday said given the extent of McIntyre’s injuries, Haas could have faced a murder charge instead of arson.

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