A Butler County man accused of pouring a flammable substance on a 7-year-old boy then lighting him on fire in May will stand trial on a lesser assault charge.
An aggravated assault charge against Edward B. Myers, 35, of Saxonburg, was withdrawn this morning before District Judge Lewis Stoughton of Chicora.
A charge of endangering the welfare of children was upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony and Mr. Myers waived a hearing on the additional existing charges: simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and possession of a controlled substance and paraphernalia.
Defense attorney Jerry Cassady said he and his client were pleased the most serious charge was withdrawn.
The focus of the case now is not going to be on whether my client caused these injuries, but whether it was a crime for him not to call for emergency services," he said.
The boy told police that on May 25, when his mother was not home, Mr. Myers and his two sons shot him with pellets from an airgun. Later that day, Mr. Myers threw something into his eyes that burned and felt like sand, police wrote in a criminal complaint.
When the boy went to rinse it out, he said, Mr. Myers poured nail polish remover on him. The boy then went into the room of one of the sons, according to the complaint, and either Mr. Myers or one of the others "did something and caught his shirt on fire."
When the boy's mother, who was dating Mr. Myers, returned to his home, she found her son with burns on his chest, neck and face, as well as a bruise on his forehead.
Molly Born: email@example.com or 412-263-1944.