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Fed up mom starts trailer on fire to remove son

BEMIDJI -- A mother went to extreme lengths to get her son to move out of her home last Wednesday -- she started her trailer on fire.

When a Beltrami County Sheriff's Deputy responded to a report of a fire burning in Roosevelt Manor Mobile Home Park in Bemidji on April 30, Mary June Klasen, 57, of Bemidji confessed to starting two fires. Klasen was arrested for first-degree arson.

A pile of pine needles was found burning close to the southwest corner of Klasen's mobile home, according to court documents. After the deputy extinguished the flames, he spoke with Klasen's son, Michael Sherman. Sherman informed the deputy his mother started the fire and he extinguished it. Remnants of a fire were observed in a wooded entry to the trailer. He was not aware of the fire outside the trailer, according to the criminal complaint.

Klasen told law enforcement she started the fires in an attempt to scare her son into moving out of her home because she was "fed up with her son living there and doing nothing to contribute," court documents said.

Sherman said his mother was holding a pine branch and some paper and told him she was going to start the mobile home on fire, Sherman then noticed smoke and a fire in the entryway.

Bemidji Firefighters determined there were two fires, according to court documents. Investigators found strips of newspaper and matches.

After Klasen was transported to the Beltrami County Jail, she told law enforcement she heard her son say something about burning the house down. She then said she "got a bad idea and decided that she would start the house on fire," according to court documents. A neighbor informed investigators Sherman commented he would burn the mobile home down if his mother was going to sell the trailer.

Klasen is presently in the Beltrami County Jail. Her next court appearance is Monday. Klasen faces 20 years in prison and a $35,000 fine if convicted of arson in Beltrami County Court.

Crystal Dey
Crystal Dey covers crime, courts, tribal relations and social issues for The Bemidji Pioneer in Bemidji, Minnesota. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey has worked for the Echo Press in Alexandria, Minnesota, The Forum in Fargo, North Dakota, The Tampa Tribune in Tampa, Florida, the Hartford Courant in Hartford and West Hartford News in West Hartford, Connecticut. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.
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