Updated: Man Who Allegedly Tried to Burn Down Home Has Prelim - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Updated: Man Who Allegedly Tried to Burn Down Home Has Prelim Hearing

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Brad Gladwell Brad Gladwell

Brad Gladwell had a preliminary hearing Friday afternoon.

The 45-year-old Kearney man was put behind bars in January for allegedly trying to set his house on fire while his two roommates slept inside.

Police were called to Brad Gladwell's home at 18 E. 29th St. in Kearney in the early morning hours on January 15th, after his roommates said they were awakened by the smell of gasoline.

"He took gas and poured it all over the upstairs," roommate Tiffany Harris said. "It's real bad. I guess he poured it everywhere up there."

Harris says she and her roommate, Dan, were sleeping downstairs in the living room around 4 a.m. Tuesday morning when they were awakened by the strong smell of gasoline.

"I couldn't figure out what the smell was at first, because I didn't think at all that it would be gasoline -- and at 3:30 in the morning," she said. "But after I smelled it for a while, I woke Danny up and said, 'Danny, what is that smell?' and he jumped up and he said, 'It smells like gas,' and he started messing with the stove and I was like, 'It's not propane. It smells like gasoline or kerosene."

That's when they called the fire department to report the fumes. But Harris says she knew their third roommate and owner of the home, Brad Gladwell, had something to do with it.

"We noticed the gas fumes were coming from upstairs," Harris said. "Brad wouldn't let me go in his room, so I knew he had done something because he had been doing a lot of stuff lately --like messing with the furnace and stuff like that, so I knew that he had done something." 

She says Gladwell packed up his things a week ago and left the home, telling his roommates that his grandmother had died. He then allegedly returned to the home early Tuesday morning when he thought his roommates would be asleep, poured gasoline all over his bed and himself, and attempted to set it on fire.

Harris says Gladwell had been trying to sell the house for a while, but when that didn't work out, he got frustrated and decided to just burn it down.

"He was being sued for $70,000 -- the price of the house," she said. "He had taken out two mortgages and hadn't paid them, so he was being sued. He has homeowners insurance, so he planned on burning the house down to pay for his home."

When asked if she thought Gladwell was trying to kill her, Harris said, "Yea, I do. I really do."

Now, Harris says she just hopes Gladwell isn't released from jail before she has time to move.

"At the time, I was kind of shocked and kind of scared," she said. "I hope they don't let him back out to do anything else to me before I can get out of here. I want to get out of this house and away from him, for sure."

Court records report Gladwell initially denied spreading the gas all over his bed and himself, but later admitted to doing the deed. Court records go on to say that Gladwell told police when it came down to it he could not go through with lighting the fire because "it wasn't the right thing to do."

Gladwell was charged with two counts of attempted first-degree homicide and attempted first-degree arson.

He waived his prelim, and is now bound over to District Court. No new court date has been set at this time.

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