09 January 2023- A Carlisle man with an alleged history of mental illness is charged today with the burning of a home owned by his parents as well as a barn on the property. Matthew Jeffrey Cohick is charged with felony arson of a historic resource, felony arson with danger of death or bodily injury, felony arson with intent to destroy an unoccupied building, felony reckless burning, felony possessing incendiary materials, felony burglary, felony criminal mischief, felony criminal trespassing, summary dangerous burning, and summary criminal trespass. Cohick is behind bars on $50,000 bail.
Police allegedly found Matthew Cohick returning home while investigating a burglary at a home on Big Spring Road, Newville when they allegedly found an unknown liquid in a clear plastic container inside of Cohick’s Jeep Cherokee. That container lead to a full search, allegedly turning up a 12 oz bottle of power steering fluid, almost empty, a 1 qt bottle of motor oil, almost empty, and a 101.4 oz container of an unknown accelerant, also almost empty. Police then searched the home on Big Spring Road, but the inside could not be safely surveyed because of poor structural integrity.
Interviews of Cohick’s parents found that he allegedly had a history of mentall issues since he was 25. Cohick is currently 41 years of age. Cohick’s father related that this home is always locked up and that he is there every 15 days or so to check on the property and the dehumidifier. Father and son allegedly had an argument over the phone on January 3rd about Matthew letting somoene into see the apartment building where he lived in Carlisle.
The fire at the property on Big Spring Road allegedly took place on January 4th, according to police. After the fire, Matthew Cohick was found at his parents home, also on Big Spring Road but not the same home that was burned, trying to break in. During the day after the fire, a search of the burned property was conducted and found multiple cars moved away from the building, doors and gates left open, and other odd things not locked up. A gas can was found in the bed of one of the trucks that was moved to the far end of a field away from the property.
Cohick’s grandmother allegedly told her daughter, Cohick’s mother, that he called her and told her he burnt the house and the barn to the ground but nobody was hurt. This all occurred around 1:30am on January 4th. Matthew allegedly asked for permission to go to her apartment complex, but with her allegedly saying that he should go home. Subsequent interviews with Cohick’s grandmother confirmed this series of events, with Cohick saying that his father “needed to be saved, he didn’t want him to go to hell, and he has such a hard heart”.
Cohick is behind bars in Cumberland County on $50,000 bail. His preliminary hearing is set for January 11th.
Sources: Docket Number: MJ-09301-CR-0000009-2023, Incident Number: PA 2023-14120
**Attached picture is a stock photo