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Judge allows competency test for Buffalo Co. arson suspect

Poehler is charged with arson in connection with a December fire which destroyed a rural Shelton church.
Poehler is charged with arson in connection with a December fire which destroyed a rural Shelton church.(Buffalo County Detention Center)
Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 2:52 PM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - The man accused of burning down a rural Buffalo County church will undergo a test to determine whether he’s competent to stand trial.

40-year-old Mathew Poehler is charged with felony Second Degree Arson.

The fire happened December 11, 2019, at Zion Lutheran Church, located at 24975 Sioux Road, about ten miles northwest of Shelton.

Court records show Poehler is linked to the fire. Authorities found diesel fuel in Poehler’s pickup. They believe that diesel fuel was used to start the fire.

Poehler pleaded not guilty to the arson charge last month and his attorney asked the court to schedule a hearing to determine whether or not he is competent to stand trial. Poehler’s next court hearing is Aug. 11.

If convicted on the arson charge he could get up to four years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

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