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Apartment resident charged with setting fire in alleged attempt to kill roommate

Darren Michael Weber1 / 2
Police and fire officials responded to this apartment house in Bismarck, where Darren Weber allegedly started a fire in an attempt to kill his roommate. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune2 / 2

BISMARCK — One day after an apartment fire, a resident of the building has been charged with setting the blaze in an alleged attempt to kill his roommate.

Darren Michael Weber, 42, of Bismarck, is charged with Class B felony endangering by fire or explosion as well as four other felony counts in violation of a court order.

Weber and his roommate are registered sex offenders who lived together in a unit at the apartment house at 501 Memorial Highway in Bismarck, where firefighters and police responded around 7:15 a.m. Tuesday to the fire.

At first, Weber allegedly considered using a pocketknife and hammer to kill his sleeping roommate, whom he blamed for violations in a probation search the night before, according to court documents. Weber reportedly told police he "just thought this other way would be easier," regarding the fire.

During the previous night's search, Weber had allegedly been found with a marijuana joint. He reportedly admitted to smoking pot, viewing pornography and using the internet — all in violation of a court order from January.

At the same time, records indicate that Weber, who reportedly admitted he was stressed, wanted to return to the State Penitentiary, so he decided, "I'll just kill him."

Weber put two vacuum cleaners, a foot soak tub, a plastic container, two lawn chairs, a dresser and a footstool in front of his roommate's bedroom door before starting a fire in his own bedroom and leaving, according to an affidavit.

However, Weber reportedly returned indoors when he could see nothing was happening. After seeing the fire grow inside his bedroom, he reportedly decided to wake up the other man.

Bismarck Fire Marshal Owen Fitzsimmons declined to comment on the cause of the fire, citing the police investigation. The city reported no injuries from the fire.

Weber is held at the Burleigh-Morton County Detention Center, pending $100,000 cash bond.

He has faced endangering by fire charges before, from three events in 1993. His criminal history includes a range of charges, including his guilty plea in 2002 to Class A felony gross sexual imposition.

In 2005, a federal judge found him not guilty by reason of insanity for threatening to kill President George W. Bush and then-U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley.