LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The man who is accused of starting a mobile home fire in November 2021 that killed his girlfriend and her three dogs was found not competent to stand trial, according to court records.
Shyhelee Coleman, who was 35 years old at the time of the incident, was found “not competent as he is not capable of understanding the charges against him and is unable to assist counsel in his defense,” in an October hearing, court records said.
Police said Coleman is responsible for the Nov. 10, 2021 fire in a mobile home on Sahara Avenue near Hollywood Boulevard that killed 35-year-old Melynda Bown and her three dogs.
According to an arrest warrant, officers responded to reports of a domestic dispute at the mobile home hours before the fire, involving Bown, her brother Samuel, and Coleman.
Later that evening, firefighters responded to a fire at the home. In an interview with detectives, Samuel said Coleman and his sister were heavy meth users and always in a state of paranoia, to the point that Coleman feared people were watching him through the Wi-Fi, the warrant said.
Samuel told officers that after the argument with Coleman, he realized he had not heard from his sister, who had been locked in the bedroom since Nov. 7. A female roommate also said that she had not seen Bown in the days leading up to the fire.
Samual told Coleman that he was going to call the police and tell them Bown had overdosed and was dead, police said.
According to the warrant, 10-to-15 minutes later, Samuel hear a loud explosion and saw smoke in the living room and the couple’s bedroom.
Samuel kicked the bedroom door open and saw the bed on fire. He along with the three other roommates escaped through a window, according to police.
During an autopsy, the coroner noted he did not observe “soot” in Bown’s throat and believed she might have died before the fire started, the warrant said.
Almost a week later, Coleman was arrested in Carson City on charges of arson, three counts of attempted murder, and three counts of willful killing, maiming, disfiguring, or poisoning the animal of another.