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Telltale pacemaker key in arson investigation

Telltale pacemaker key in arson investigation

An Ohio man was indicted on arson and insurance fraud charges after investigators reviewed data collected from his pacemaker that showed no indication that he had packed up his things and leaped out of a window, racing away from his burning house, as he had claimed.

Fifty-nine-year-old Ross Compton of Middletown, Ohio, pleaded not guilty in Butler County Common Pleas Court Tuesday after telling reporters that the investigation into the Sept. 19 fire had “gone way out of control” and that he had “no motive whatsoever to burn down” his house. 

Meanwhile, authorities found gasoline on his clothing and that the fire had started in several areas, according to the Associated Press. But the medical data obtained through a search warrant and analyzed by a cardiologist was the key, police told reporters. That data included Mr. Compton's heart rate, pacer demand and cardiac rhythms before, during and after the fire, police said.

A cardiologist reported that it was "highly improbable," due to Mr. Compton’s medical conditions, that he could do all the collecting, packing and removal of items from his house and then carry them swiftly to his car as he had he told police, according to court records.