Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Vietnam Vet: "Everything is over for me"

'Everything is over for me,' distraught vet said
A Columbia Heights man called 911 Friday and said that he set his house on fire. That he killed his wife. That he tried to kill himself. He now faces murder and arson charges.
Minneapolis Star Tribune - Minneapolis,MN,USA
By PAUL LEVY, Star Tribune

Last update: July 22, 2008 - 8:54 PM
"I started a fire. I tried to kill myself. I killed my wife. I stabbed her in the bedroom."

The caller told the Anoka County dispatcher that his name was Arthur Torgesen, that he tried to set himself on fire and that he did so because he and his wife were having financial problems. He had also been diagnosed with cancer recently, relatives said.

Torgesen, 63 -- a Vietnam veteran who neighbors say had a history of depression and alcohol-related troubles -- was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Sherrill R. Harnden, 59, and first-degree arson of their Columbia Heights home on Friday.

Torgesen was sitting naked on a living room couch as smoke filled the house and his wife lay motionless in a bedroom engulfed by flames, said neighbor Reed Sprung, who hurried to the home across the street when he saw smoke. A gas can was found in the room, not far from Harnden's charred body, according to the criminal complaint filed in Anoka County.

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