The 16-year-old accused of setting a fire that killed an Auburn man in 2017, was indicted by a Logan County Grand Jury Feb. 23 for murder and first-degree arson.

According to the Commonwealth of Kentucky Lance Lear on or about the 7th day of June 2017, knowingly and unlawfully committed the offense of murder, when with the intent to cause the death of another person, intentionally started a fire inside Jerry Caudill's house.

Lear, according to the Commonwealth on the same day, knowingly and unlawfully committed first degree arson when with the intent to destroy or damage a building, he started a fire or caused an explosion in the building that was occupied, or had reason to believe was inhabited or occupied, when he used gasoline to intentionally start a fire inside Jerry Caudill's house causing Caudill's death as a result.

Lear was transferred from juvenile court to circuit court after a youthful offender hearing was held Friday, Feb. 9, when Logan County Attorney Joe Ross made a motion to transfer the case.

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 be sent 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.

Murder is a capital offense which can carry either the death penalty, life without parole, life with parole eligibility in 25 years, life with parole eligibility in 20 years, or 20 to 50 years.

First degree arson is a Class A felony and carries a potential sentence of 20 to 50 years in prison and fines reaching up to $10,000.

Lear is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, March 8. He is currently being housed in Juvenile Detention in Bowling Green under a $500,000 cash bond.