Son charged with murdering mother in arson case

Wed, 12/16/2009 - 9:57pm
By: John Munford

Peachtree City police have made a second arrest in the arson/murder of an elderly woman more than 15 months ago.

This time, though, the suspect is the victim’s own son. Scott David Dahlman, 41, of 402 Abrell Woods Court, Peachtree City was arrested today and charged with malice murder, felony murder, arson in the first degree and aggravated assault, police said.

The malice murder charge means that Scott Dahlman is accused of deliberately intending to kill his mother.

Scott Dahlman’s arrest comes 16 days after his wife Valerie Dahlman was arrested for the death of Francis Dahlman Aug. 31, 2008.

Authorities have not yet released whether they believe Scott and Valerie Dahlman conspired together to murder Francis Dahlman.

Francis Dahlman, who lived in the basement of her son’s home, had suffered burns while she was in a recliner, police said.

An autopsy determined that Francis Dahlman burned to death, officials have said.

Prosecutors have said that a number of forensic tests have been conducted to disprove potential defense theories of how Francis Dahlman might have died other than by murder.

From the beginning of the investigation fire officials were suspicious of Francis Dahlman’s death because it was not obvious how the fire was started.

It is possible that Scott Dahlman’s arrest was predicated by the decision of a Fayette County grand jury which received testimony and evidence on a variety of criminal cases earlier this week. Grand juries only have the power to determine if there is enough probable cause for a defendant to stand trial; their decision is not indicative of any defendant’s guilt or innocence.

The last murder reported in Peachtree City was in October 2006 when Eric Ulrich was shot twice by his ex-wife April Ulrich in the parking lot of the NCR campus. April Ulrich pled guilty to the crime in November 2007.

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