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"Slow" New Berlin Man Charged with Arson, Family Questions Confession

A New Berlin man has been charged with five counts of arson, including one count for a large industrial fire that happened in Muskego last Friday.

But the suspect's family tells CBS 58's Jacob Kittilstad that they "don't know" if he actually did it.

This suspect is 31-years-old Adam Erickson. Before his arrest he had been living with his family in the home he spent his entire life in. Many of his neighbors describe him as 'slow', but they did not know him to be destructive.

According to a criminal complaint, a fire that took out a garage was the last of three fires started at a home on West Linnie Lac Place.

The house is next door to the suspect's home.

Erickson is also charged with two counts of arson for fires at two larger industrial buildings on Martin Drive.

According to the criminal complaint, Erickson told police that when he was at the old Reynold's Machine Co. building on May 26 "...he found a book of paper matches with the words las Vegas Nevada on the book."

"...He stated that he decided to light the rag on fire inside the building because he was not thinking clearly," according to the criminal complaint.

"...he stated that he was also taking medication and that may have something to do with it," according to the criminal complaint.

Erickson's family says he has 47,XYY Syndrome - which they says means he can be easily misled.

That's why Adam's grandfather and legal guardian, Roger Erickson, questions if the confession is valid.

"To everybody else's eye he looks normal, you know? We go to the stores and stuff. He looks normal. But, around here, he'll come up with a story about Trump or something. And it's really exaggerated. And I tell Adam 'forget it'," Roger Erickson said.

"And I ask him 'Why did you do it Adam? Why? Why? Why?' You know? He says, you know, in his mental capacity, all he says is 'I don't know'," Roger Erickson said about when he asked Adam about the fires.

"So I don't know," Roger said.

According to the criminal complaint, investigators also found evidence on Adam's computer: more than a hundred images and videos of "the aftermath of the fire at the [neighbor's] residence...and emergency response to the property fires."

But the Adam Erickson's family says - despite some social awkwardness - Adam has never had a history of starting fires and they don't know what could have triggered it.

"That's my son," Shawn Erickson, Adam's mother, said. "I want him home. Who wouldn't want him home? Who wouldn't want their child home? You know, it's like...I don't know."

The family also said that they are also concerned about Erickson's health while behind bars because of his other issues that come along with XYY Syndrome.

Erickson's bond is set at $250,000.


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