WESTON, Mo. — Prosecutors filed murder and arson charges Monday in Platte County following a weekend death in Weston. Police found the suspect naked in the woods after a deadly fire in a neighborhood.
Neighbors said it’s horrifying to learn what authorities believe happened just beyond their backyard.
A witness and neighbor said she was celebrating her birthday with friends. A fire next door at about 2 a.m. Sunday stopped them in their tracks.
“It’s tough to take in. It’s very scary,” Nora Devers said.
Devers and her son, Michael, called police and saw flames shooting out of a home in their quiet Weston neighborhood.
Tim Darby lived there for decades. The 60-year-old died in the fire. Deputies said he was found dead on the kitchen floor.
“An innocent man lost his life and didn’t deserve that over there,” Devers said. “That’s probably the hardest thing.”
What sticks with Devers and her son now are the sounds.
“The helplessness of it is awful. Those screams were real,” Devers said. “All we could hear were these desperate screams for help: ‘Help us, please help us.’”
Devers said that person yelling was Anthony Flemming. Devers’ son tried to pull him out of the fire.
“Michael said, ‘Buddy, I’ve got to get you out of here right now.’ And that’s when he jerked away from my son and disappeared into the smoke,” Devers said.
Deputies found Flemming a mile away, hiding in a wooded area.
The 24-year-old is now charged with arson and the murder of Darby. We’re told Darby was the grandfather of Flemming’s child.
Flemming could face up to life in prison.
“Under Missouri law, if you commit a felony and somebody dies as a result of that felony, you are responsible for that person’s death,” Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said.
Flemming admitted to police he set the house on fire. Court documents lay out Flemming’s reasoning: He was trying to create a distraction and make it look like he died, records say.
Zahnd said this situation may stem from Flemming’s possible use of meth.
“I will tell you that’s a terrible, terrible drug that does untold damage to people’s lives,” Zahnd said. “Not only to those that use drugs, but also innocent victims, as well.”
As they learn more, Devers said her son is glad he tried to save Flemming. Now justice can be served.
“And he said, ‘I can live with that mom, but it would have been harder to live with the fact that he died in there.’” Devers said.
Flemmnig is currently being held in the Platte County Jail. A court date and bond have not yet been set.