Casper PD: Man Tried to Burn Down House With People Inside
Casper police over the weekend arrested a man who allegedly tried to burn down a house while two adults and three young children were inside.
Harley Jay Bushnell, 26, was booked into jail on a recommended charge of attempted aggravated first-degree arson. He will likely make his initial appearance in Natrona County Circuit Court at 2 p.m. Monday.
According to an affidavit filed in the case, police officers responded to an apartment building in Casper shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday after someone called 911 and reported that Bushnell was trying to set the building on fire by pouring gasoline everywhere.
The victim told police that Bushnell is her estranged domestic partner and father to her three children. Bushnell allegedly walked up the steps to her apartment with a small gas can, then proceeded to pour gasoline on her front porch and window area.
She reportedly saw a flash and heard the sound of a lighter being struck before Bushnell left the area. Police noted that the front entrance, where the gasoline was found, was the only way in or out of the building.
A police sergeant was speaking with the alleged victim when the victim's phone rang with a call from a contact labeled as "Harley." The sergeant answered, and the caller hung up. The same person called back and spoke to the sergeant, identifying himself as Harley Bushnell.
Natrona County Sheriff's deputies found Bushnell at his camper near Queen Street and U.S. 20/26. Bushnell was taken to the Casper Police Department to be interviewed.
A detective observed that the victim's phone had received a text message from the contact labeled "Harley." That message stated, "Fine your house is getting burned down right now."
The detective also interviewed a woman who had been with Bushnell that evening. She said that the two met up at the Albertson's on CY Avenue and drove around in Bushnell's truck for a period of time. Later, Bushnell drove to an apartment building, got out of the truck and told the woman to park the vehicle around the corner and wait for him.
A short time later, the woman told police, Bushnell returned and said, "Let's get out of here."
Bushnell told police that he had not left his camper that evening. Later, Bushnell reportedly admitted that he drove to his "baby mama's" residence and carried a container of gasoline to the front step of the apartment building.
Bushnell denied pouring gas on the door and trying to light it.