A 16-year-old accused of setting a fire that killed an Auburn man in 2017 will be tried as an adult, according to a motion granted by District Judge Ken Williams Friday.

Lance D. Lear was transferred from juvenile court to circuit court on Friday, Feb. 9, after Logan County Attorney Joe Ross made a motion to transfer the casein the crime that happened in June of last year.

Lear is being charged with murder and first-degree arson, both Class A felony offenses, in the death of Jerry Caudill. Both charges carry up to 20 years to life in prison if convicted.

A youthful offender hearing was held Friday to determine if Lear, who was 15-years-old at the time of the fire, would be charged as an adult.

Due to the severity of the crime, Lear's case met the proof needed under KRS 640.010 to proceed to send the case to the Commonwealth and thus to the Logan County Grand Jury.

On June 7, 2017, agencies responded to a house fire took the life of 69-year-old Caudill in the Auburn community. Logan County Sheriff Wallace Whittaker was the first to arrive on the scene and immediately entered the burning structure in an attempt to locate the man. Whittaker found Caudill, who was unresponsive and carried him outside. Unfortunately, Caudill had succumbed to the smoke and was pronounced dead by Logan County Coroner Mary Givens.

The State Fire Marshall found that the fire began in the basement of Caudill's home. It wasn't until later in the year, after Lear began "bragging about setting the fire to other juveniles," according to a police report, that he was taken into custody and questioned.

The report states that Lear, during a videotaped interview, said he set the fire to Caudill's house, which was about a football field length from his house. He stated "Jerry was a pedophile" and that when he (Lear) was 9 or 10 years old he had heard from his family members that "Jerry was a pedophile."

According to the report, Lear told police he wanted to "burn Caudill's house down" to make life hard for Caudill due to him hurting others. He further told police in an interview that he had planned to set the fire with a bottle of gas in his garage two days before he set the fire.

Lear stated he looked through a window and saw Jerry asleep in a chair approximately 2 or 3 a.m., the report states. Lear said he entered Caudill's residence through an unlocked door, went to the basement and poured out gasoline on some boxes under the stairwell that lead upstairs to where Caudill was asleep. Lear then said he lit the boxes with a lighter and then ran out of the house.

Lear is currently being housed in Juvenile Detention in Bowling Green.

Caudill was indicted in 2013, on 36 counts of sexual abuse in the first degree when being 21-years-old or more, subjected another person who was less than 12-years-old to sexual contact. He plead guilty to the crimes. The Commonwealth recommended probation, with active supervision, and that Caudill undergo sex offender treatment, wear an ankle monitor with GPS, and register with the sex offender registry for life.