Russell Speigle wasn’t too pleased to learn that a sex offender would be moving into his neighborhood. He, along with several other neighbors, reportedly voiced concerns about their fairly awkward new neighbor at a local neighborhood watch meeting, but to no avail. So, Speigle allegedly decided to take matters into his own hands. However, the drastic measures he’s taken to rectify the problem have landed him in jail. According to WMTV, Speigle is accused of burning down the future home of a convicted sex offender.
On Sunday, Feb. 22, the 50-year-old Wisconsin man allegedly torched the home. Although he spoke briefly with local authorities no long after the fire, apparently, he skipped town shortly after questioning. But, there was a distinct reason for his brief disappearance — fresh burns on his face. He was reportedly apprehended on Monday in a nearby city and the incriminating burns on his face lead authorities to believe that he’s definitely the local resident who burned down the Madison, Wisconsin, home.
According to the Chippewa Herald, a convicted sex offender named Harold Nyberg was suppose to be moving into the home. Nyberg, 40, described as “sexually violent,” served four years behind bars for his 1994 conviction on charges of second-degree sexual assault of a child.
It has also been reported that Nyberg didn’t actually have a choice where his residency was concerned. Apparently, he was assigned to live in the home in Speigle’s neighborhood as part of the Wisconsin Supervised Sex Offender Release Program.
Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney released a statement in regards to the shocking arson case, reports Channel 3000.
“What’s most alarming — Speigle lived doors away, endangering public safety and his own neighbors… Like many, he voiced his displeasure, which is the place to carry out those kinds of actions is at the public notification meeting so that we can address those concerns… What is unacceptable is acts of vigilantism like this.”
Surprisingly, Speigle’s arrest has sparked quite a debate. While many readers have stated the obvious, deeming arson unacceptable, others have argued that laws should be mandated to restrict sex offenders from living in places highly populated with children. Many are also frustrated because taxpayer dollars are used to assign housing in such cases.
“I don’t condone arson, but I do wonder why sex offenders are being housed in neighborhoods where children are nearby…and why are the taxpayers paying for their housing at all, let alone at higher-than-market rates?”
“I’m not saying I support sex offenders being released, but I don’t know of many residential areas that don’t have small children, at least a few. the only place I can think of that wouldn’t have any small children is in an assisted living home, where all the residents are seniors.”
“Neighborhoods that collectively do not want sex offenders in the mix should not be forced to have the offender living in a rented house. The second they molest a child they forfeit the right to breathe the same air as the rest of us. Put ’em all on an island in the middle of the Mississippi with no boat. We as the public should at least feel safe for ourselves and our children, who cares if a convicted sex offender/predator has a place to live…”
Do you think there should be residential restrictions for sex offenders? What do you think of Russell Speigle’s actions? Share your thoughts.
[Image via Dane County Sheriff’s Office]