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Attempted homicide by arson suspect held on high cash bond

By Brandi Makuski

A man suspected of attempting to kill two people by setting their bed on fire is being held on a $250,000 cash bond.

Gary McDonald, 61 of Stevens Point, attended his bail hearing via video from the Portage Co. Jail on Aug. 27, when Judge Thomas Eagon ordered him held on the high cash bond.

McDonald was arrested on Aug. 24 after emergency crews were called to reports of a fire on the 2500 block of Simonis St. at 3:14 a.m.

McDonald reportedly admitted to police he poured gasoline in a clothing hamper, the top of the staircase, and a bed where two people were sleeping, igniting fires in each place. The motive was not immediately known.

Residents of the home extinguished the fires before emergency crews arrived, according to Sgt. Robert Kussow with the Stevens Point Police Department. All four residents of the home made it out with “very minor injuries,” he said.

McDonald is facing two counts of attempted homicide, two counts of recklessly endangering safety, and one count of arson.

Kussow said the investigation is ongoing and anyone with additional information should contact his office at (715) 346-1515.  

McDonald returns to court Sept. 10.