A 20-year-old woman and her 41-year-old boyfriend were booked Thursday after authorities say the couple tried to kill the man's mother by setting her home on fire while she slept inside on Jan. 7.
Gladys George is charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated arson for her alleged role in the incident. Her boyfriend, Johnny Shouse, faces the same charges.
Paula Shouse, her son and George all lived in the same house on Ooltewah-Georgetown Road, according to the affidavit. Paula Shouse told investigators that George called her from her son's phone around 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 6 and asked whether she was going to bed.
Paula Shouse said she was and George wished her a good night, according to the affidavit. That was odd not only because they were all in the same house at the time, but also because George and Paula Shouse did not get along, she told deputies.
Paula Shouse went to sleep, but woke up later to a loud crash outside her bedroom door, she said. She discovered flames shooting under her door and tried to get out, but the door was blocked.
Instead, she went out a back door and escaped via the back porch. She ran to the front of the house to wake up her son and George, but they did not answer, she told investigators. When she went outside, she realized her car was missing.
The woman rescued her dog from the house and noticed that her dog smelled like kerosene. Investigators discovered a partially melted container that looked like remains of a kerosene can, as well as a gasoline can and a bottle of charcoal lighter on the porch.
Investigators also determined that an accelerant had been used to light the fire, which was near the back of the house and did severe damage to a bedroom and bathroom.
George and Johnny Shouse did not return to the home and around 11 a.m. on Jan. 7, agents with the Tennessee Department of Correction came looking for Johnny Shouse, according to the affidavit.
Shouse, a registered sex offender, had cut off his ankle monitoring bracelet around 11:40 p.m. on Jan. 6. The tracking system last registered his location near a Waffle House on 25th Street in Cleveland, Tenn., according to the affidavit.
He was convicted of aggravated sexual battery in 2005 and is classified as "violent against children" in the Tennessee Sexual Offender Registry.
Around noon Jan. 7, someone texted Paula Shouse from her son's phone and claimed the couple was in Florida, according to the affidavit. Paula Shouse asked the texter why they did it.
"Cuz I can," was the reply, followed by, "Part of our plan to go off grid you would have been in the way."
The couple turned themselves in in Shreveport, La., on Jan. 8, according to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.
George is now being held in the Hamilton County Jail on a $3 million bond. Shouse faces additional charges of violating the sex offender registry and violating the offender monitoring program, as well as a theft charge. His bond was set at $3.625 million, and he is also being held in the Hamilton County Jail.
Both are scheduled to appear in Hamilton County General Sessions Court on Jan. 27.
Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-756-6476.