A 67-year-old Lincoln man's second-degree arson case has been dismissed, following a judge finding him incompetent to stand trial on the charge.

In an order, Lancaster County District Judge Darla Ideus said, based on the evidence presented, there was not a substantial probability that James Cothran would become competent within the foreseeable future.

She gave the County Attorney's office 10 days to begin a civil commitment proceeding or he would be released.

Lincoln Fire and Rescue was called to The Locker Room at 47th Street and Prescott Avenue at about 7:30 a.m. Sept. 29, 2016, on reports of flames near the electrical box in the back of the building.

Lincoln police came to believe Cothran was responsible for the fire that caused an estimated $100,000 damage to the structure and $200,000 to its contents.

Cothran, a resident of a nearby assisted-living home, told police he was burning spider webs and a termite hole on the outside of the building hours before it went up in flames.

 

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