Brainerd Man with Previous Arson Conviction Arrested Over Threats to Burn Down Brainerd Woman’s House
Steven Hamilton Whitney, a 44-year-old Brainerd man, was charged Tuesday, July 20, in Crow Wing County District Court in Brainerd with making felony threats of violence and gross misdemeanor domestic assault.
Brainerd police were called at 10:23 a.m. Sunday to a residence on Seventh Avenue Northeast in Brainerd for a domestic assault involving Whitney and a woman, who was charged July 13 with felony second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon and two misdemeanors of domestic assault to cause bodily harm and property damage.
According to the criminal complaint, the woman reported Whitney was yelling at her through the windows and trying to force his way into the residence. All of the doors were locked and Whitney was still outside. Officers were on their way to the residence when they observed Whitney standing with his face pressed up against a window on the northeast side of the residence, and he appeared to be yelling. When Whitney saw the officer, he walked away from the window and came towards the officer.
Whitney stated something similar to, “What now?” to the officer and then went on to say something about the woman making things up again just to call the cops. Whitney asked the officer something similar to, “Isn’t it against the law for her to call the cops every day and night?” The officer asked Whitney what happened. Whitney replied the woman was just mad because he was selling the truck and car and moving out. Whitney told the officer he woke up 30 minutes earlier and someone was coming to look at the truck he was selling, according to the complaint.
The officer went into the residence to speak with the woman, who stated Whitney was “going at her and verbally attacking her” all morning. She said Whitney was verbally assaultive for hours that morning, calling her “every name in the book” and threatening to kill her by burning the house down while she was sleeping, the complaint stated.
She said at one point that morning, Whitney intentionally shoved her against one of the bedroom door frames and continued to tell her he wished “she was dead and that he will kill her,” the complaint stated. The woman told the officer she believed Whitney likely would have physically assaulted her further if she wouldn’t have begged him to stop due to her deteriorating health conditions.
The officer asked the woman how many times she believed Whitney attempted to or put his hands on her and she said at least four times. The officer also asked her how many times Whitney verbally threatened to harm her, kill her or burn her house down that morning and she said probably 10 times.
The woman told the officer she is genuinely fearful for her safety when Whitney is around. She believes Whitney is capable of and would burn her house down and try to kill her if the opportunity was right.
Whitney was convicted and imprisoned for felony first-degree arson when he used a gas can to burn a detached garage off Fir Street in Brainerd in 2015.
When officers attempted to arrest Whitney, he allegedly tensed his arms towards his body and loudly started yelling and swearing at the officers and the woman.
Whitney continued to be in custody Thursday. The judge set bail with conditions at $10,000 and his next court appearance is July 28.