LOCKPORT - Caleb E. Bell Jr., who was charged with setting a fire Nov. 8 in the Lockport house where his mother died in a blaze the previous month, was ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial for arson Wednesday.
State Supreme Court Justice John L. Michalski signed an order committing Bell, 34, to a state mental institution for a year or until treatment makes him competent.
Niagara County Assistant District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann said two of the three psychologists who examined Bell deemed him incompetent.
Bell is the son of Holly A. Seiler, 54, who was found dead after a fire broke out in her second-floor bedroom at 605 E. High St. in Lockport about 3:30 a.m. Oct. 20. No charges have been filed in connection with that death.
Witnesses told police that on Nov. 8, there was a strong odor of gasoline coming from inside the house before the first-floor living room erupted in flames. Bell was a resident of the house.