TOBYHANNA — The attempted homicide case against a man who prosecutors say tried to burn down the house of his ex-girlfriend made it to Monroe County court Friday.
The case has to be handled a certain way because both the defendant and victim are hearing-impaired.
A sign language interpreter was in court for the preliminary hearing for Joseph Shuman.
Shuman is charged with criminal attempted homicide and arson, accused of trying to burn down his friend’s home.
Shuman’s father says it’s a crime he never thought his son would be accused of.
Joseph Shuman of Tobyhanna was escorted out of district court Friday morning. Shuman gave up his right to a hearing and now faces trial for charges that he tried setting a house on fire while four people were sleeping inside.
Paul Shuman is the defendant’s father and says hours before the fire, he got a call from police to pick up his son at a nearby gas station where his son and the victim, Mahogany Suarez, got into an argument.
“It’s extremely tough. This is unbelievable,” Paul Shuman said. “He was out of his mind. I have never seen him, in 24 years of his life; I have never seen him in a state like that. Ever.”
Shuman says he picked up his son and took the keys to the car but somehow, Joseph had an extra set of keys and drove to Suarez’s home in A Pocono Country Place in Tobyhanna Township.
Police say Shuman then tried to set the home on fire by torching the front porch and rear deck.
Shuman told police he also removed the electric meter from the home because he knew the people were hearing-impaired and he didn’t want them to see a flashing fire alarm.
Police say Shuman admitted to pouring gas on the porch and lighting it with a lighter.
For Suarez, it’s a night that still haunts her.
“She’s in shock,” said Brittany Gonzalez, Suarez’s mother.
This was also the first time Suarez saw Shuman since that night and became emotional when explaining what she would say to him if she had a chance.
“To tell Joe, ‘why would you threaten me? You know who I am, and you can knock on the door, come to me and talk, not set fire to the house.’ And now you see you’re in jail and it’s your fault,” she said.
Joseph Shuman is facing attempted homicide and arson charges.
There is no word on when the case might go to trial.
Shuman is locked up in the Monroe County prison.