A judge Tuesday ordered $1 million bail each for twin Ellensburg brothers held for what police say was an attempt to burn their father’s home down with him inside.
Caleb Wayne Bledsoe and Joshua Lewis Bledsoe, 25, were arrested Monday on suspicion of attempted first-degree homicide, first-degree arson and possession of improvised explosives after firefighters and police responded to a fire at their home early Monday morning.
The two men live with their father, 70-year-old William Bledsoe, and all work at Bledsoe & Sons Gutters and Sheet Metal in Ellensburg.
Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue and Ellensburg Police Department personnel arrived at the three men’s South Railroad Avenue home at around 1:40 a.m. Monday, and reports said the elder Bledsoe was still inside.
All three got out by the time responders arrived.
William Bledsoe was treated for smoke inhalation.
A probable cause statement read in Kittitas County Superior Court Tuesday said responding firefighters got out of the building when they encountered an improvised explosive inside — a propane canister wrapped with shotgun shells.
The probable cause statement said the two brothers, when arrested, allegedly told officers their father is difficult to live with and work for, and that factored into their motive.
The two allegedly discussed ways to kill their father about an hour before the fire, according to the statement. Joshua Bledsoe allegedly said they might try shooting their father with a shotgun and burying him in a shallow hole that had already been dug on their property.
Instead, they allegedly told police, they decided to burn the house down, with the idea the smoke would kill William Bledsoe and the fire would burn his body, according to the statement.
According to the statement, Joshua Bledsoe told police he made the two explosive devices found in the investigation, but they were made earlier for other reasons.
A search warrant executed inside the building found evidence of accelerants used to light the fire, and the statement said the brothers told police they set fires around the house.
Caleb Bledsoe allegedly set a fire using lighter fluid in the building’s basement and Joshua Bledsoe set two: one down the stairs and another outside his father’s room.
The statement said Josh Bledsoe used a flashlight to check if William Bledsoe was still sleeping before they lit the fires.
“When William tried to get out of the bedroom, Joshua tried to hold the door closed,” said county Deputy Prosecutor Chris Herion, reading from the statement, but he almost immediately let it open.
The statement said Joshua Bledsoe, about a day before the fire, gathered both his and Caleb Bledsoe’s passports and about $50 in Canadian money.
Superior Court Judge Scott Sparks set both men’s bail at $1 million.
The two brothers’ arraignment, where charges, if any, will be formally read, is Sept. 30.