MEDINA — A 44-year-old Wadsworth woman, accused of setting a fire in November that could have killed her elderly father-in-law, may be freed on bond if her mother uses her house as collateral.
Carol M. Gross pleaded not guilty Monday to attempted murder and three counts of aggravated arson before Medina County Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier.
The judge said she could be put on house arrest at her mother’s home at 7990 Hartman Road, Wadsworth Township, for the duration of the case.
She was held at the county jail Monday afternoon on a $300,000 cash or surety bond, reduced from $500,000 in court.
Gross’ attorney, Russell Buzzelli, said she would be tracked and monitored electronically if put on house arrest, but declined to say more about the case.
County Prosecutor Dean Holman, who appeared in court Monday for Gross’ arraignment, said Gross may be mentally incompetent — meaning she could enter a successful plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.
“The state asks for a competency evaluation,” Holman told Collier, “and we also ask for evaluation as to whether she’s a danger to herself.”
Gross said she regularly sees a therapist, and Collier told her to continue going.
He ordered a competency evaluation and scheduled Gross for an Oct. 21 trial.
“I’m absolutely sure that this competency evaluation will take longer than that,” Collier told her, “but I want to keep track of you.”
Gross’ charges are first- and second-degree felonies. If convicted, she could face more than 20 years in prison.
Gross was indicted in secret earlier this month and was arrested last week.
The fire Gross is accused of starting gutted a house at 463 Wolf Ave., Wadsworth, on Nov. 27.
A couple, Justin Bell and Kayla Dukes, was driving by that morning and saw the smoke. They kicked in the front door and helped 80-year-old Wallace Gross from the house. They said the elderly man didn’t seem to notice the flames or smoke.
The man was taken to Summa Wadsworth-Rittman Hospital for smoke inhalation and was released.
Her husband, Dorian Gross, 43, also was living at the house with four children, ages 2 to 13. Only Wallace Gross was home at the time, police said.
Firefighters from Wadsworth, Rittman, Guilford-Seville, Sharon Township and Norton fought the fire for about 45 minutes. The home, valued at about $300,000, was a total loss.
Carol Gross also faces a charge of domestic violence, a first-degree misdemeanor, in Wadsworth Municipal Court. In that case, she’s accused of hitting her husband with a van.
Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.