By Will Johnson
LATEXO – A Latexo man is behind bars after he commanded his dog to attack a family member, threatened to kill a neighbor and attempted to burn down his own residence on Sunday, July 7.
Jeremiah Michael Wayne Mettlen, 34, was taken into custody and charged with three felonies and two misdemeanors following the Sunday incident. Mettlen faces charges of: aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; arson; assaulting a family or household member by impeding breath or circulation; making a terroristic threat; and public intoxication.
According to affidavits of probable cause, Houston County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Deputy was dispatched to the 200 block of Cottonwood Lane in reference to a disturbance. Once he arrived at the location, he made contact with the victim of the dog attack “… who was observed to have injuries and bite marks from Jeremiah Mettlen’s Pit Bull dog attacking him upon Jeremiah’s command. (The victim) was observed to have several dog bite marks on his back, right leg and left side of the back.”
The report also stated the HCSO deputy observed red marks and discoloration around the victim’s neck area which stemmed from the victim being strangled by Mettlen. The victim stated he thought “… he was going to die from being choked by Jeremiah.”
A witness to the incidents also spoke with the deputy and informed Simon “… that an argument also took place with (the witness) and Jeremiah. (The witness) advised that Jeremiah told him – to his face – ‘I’m going to kill you!’ (The witness) stated he tried to get to the bottom of the problem but Jeremiah continued to say he was going to burn down the home after killing (the witness) and then go kill himself.”
In a separate affidavit of probable cause, it was stated Houston County Fire Marshal Roger Dickey interviewed a relative of Mettlen’s who stated she had observed the altercation with the dog attack victim.
“After this altercation, Mettlen stated to her he would burn the house and then kill himself. He re-entered the residence. (The relative) heard banging noises while he was inside. He came outside a few moments later, got into the vehicle with (the relative) and left the scene. She stated Mettlen jumped out of her vehicle after they had driven a short distance and began walking,” the second affidavit indicated.
Other HCSO deputies made contact with Mettlen on FM 2663, near the Latexo ISD campus, and returned him to the Cottonwood Lane location. Once there, one of the deputies “… noted smoke alarms and saw smoke emitting from the rear door of the Cottonwood residence. He entered the residence with the landlord / owner and observed a fire that had been started on the stovetop in the kitchen by placing what appeared to be rags in multiple pots and activating the burners. The rags ultimately ignited and caused damage to the structure,” according to the second affidavit.
Mettlen was transported to the Houston County Jail where he was booked into custody on charges of: aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; arson; assaulting a family member by impeding breath or circulation; making a terroristic threat; and public intoxication.
The arson and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges are considered as second degree felonies.
According to Section 12.33 of the Texas Penal Code, “An individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the second degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for any term of not more than 20 years or less than two years. In addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the second degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.”
The assault of a family member by impeding breath of a family or household member is a third degree felony, punishable by between two and 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Mettlen is being held at the Houston County Jail on bonds totaling $64,000.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.