A Southmayd man who set his home on fire and walked naked down the road before assaulting a peace officer back in May of 2018 pleaded pleaded guilty Wednesday to a number of charges. The sentencing hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 1 in the 397th state District Court with Judge Brian Gary presiding.
Michael James Ouellette, 49, was arrested a little more than a year ago after neighbors reported the house where he lived on Christie Lane was on fire.
In reports from the time of the incident, Michael James Ouellette and his wife, Shannon Lee Ouellette, 43, were arrested for felony assault of a peace officer, felony child endangerment and resisting arrest and neighbors said the parents and their 13-year-old daughter left without wearing any clothes telling them it was the “wrath of God” and the “end times,” before walking to nearby State Highway 56.
“I can definitely tell you they didn’t act like ordinary people do,” Southmayd Police Chief Chad McKee said.
The McKee said he attempted to make contact with the family along the highway, but the father attacked him.
“I was charged at by the male and that’s when I was struck due to the adult female also coming over to try to intervene while I was in the scuffle with the man,” McKee said. “That’s when I backed off. We let them walk off and followed as we waited for backup.”
Michael Ouellette was eventually indicted on of second degree felony charges of arson and assault on a peace officer along with state jail felony charges of abandon and endanger a child criminal negligence and possession of marijuana over four ounces and under five pounds.
In the plea, the state dismissed the assault against the peace officer and Michael Ouellette pleaded guilty to the arson, a marijuana and child negligence charge.
Grayson County District Attorney Brett Smith said that his office is happy that Michael Ouellette decided to accept responsibility for the charges and avoid a trial. Smith said the plea capped the punishment that Michael Ouellette will face on the arson charge at 14 years in prison and capped the possible punishment on the child endangerment charge at 20 months in state jail.
Michael Ouellette’s wife, Shannon Ouellette is set for a plea conference on Aug. 14. She also faces arson, assault of a peace officer, abandon or endanger a child with imminent bodily injury and possession of marijuana charges. She is represented by attorney Timothy Brown.
Crime and emergency reporter Drew Smith contributed to this report.
Jerrie Whiteley is the Criminal Justice Editor for the Herald Democrat. She can be reached at JWhiteley@HeraldDemocrat.com.