Cass County Man Charged with Arson, Strangulation

HOWARD TOWNSHIP, MI – Cass County Sheriff Joseph M. Underwood J.R. reported that on Tuesday, March 1st, 2016, at 11:32 p.m., his deputies responded to a domestic disturbance at a residence on Huntly Road in Howard Township. DANIEL EUGENE THORNTON

A citizen driving by the Huntly Road home had called Cass County Dispatch to report that there was a fire burning on the porch of the residence. When the Howard Township Fire Department arrived firefighters they were confronted by 39-year-old male suspect who told them to leave.

This confrontation allowed the suspect’s girlfriend and a second woman a chance to escape from the house with her five young children. When deputies arrived at the scene they discovered evidence that the suspect had attempted to set parts of the house on fire.

Witnesses present at the scene told deputies that the suspect had attempted to imprison the two women in a bedroom by nailing the door shut. The witnesses also allege that the suspect had threatened them with a knife.

Deputies along with officers from the Pokagon Tribal Police and Michigan State Police were able to locate the suspect on a nearby road and take him into custody. He was lodged at the Cass County Jail on multiple felony charges. He has been identified as Daniel Eugene Thornton.

Daniel Eugene Thornton was arraigned on Wednesday March 2nd, 2016, in Cass County District Court Thornton was charged by the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office with 1 count of Arson in the 2nd Degree, count 2 Unlawful Imprisonment, count 3 Arson 3rd Degree, count 4 Assault by strangulation, count 5 Assault with a deadly weapon, and count 6 Aggravated Domestic Assault.

His bond was set at $150,000.00.

Daniel Thorton has previous convictions based on information from the Michigan Department of Corrections dating back to 1994 for:

  • Assault with Dangerous Weapon (Felonious Assault)
  • Break Esc Jail Or Att Prior To Trial
  • Breaking & Entering a Building With Intent
  • 2 counts Larceny in a Building

The Howard Township Fire Department, SMACUS Ambulance, Michigan State Police, and Pokagon Tribal Police assisted the Sheriff’s Office with this incident. This matter remains under investigation.

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