By Chris Kramer
March 1, 2007 -- While the divorce process may "ignite" frustration, the case of a Kentucky man accused of burning down his home is a good example of the importance of keeping those emotions in check during divorce.
After learning during his Kentucky divorce that he had to pay some fees for his wife Stephanie's divorce lawyer, David Chism's fuse apparently ran out. Chism is accused of burning and blowing up the home that he and his wife allegedly fought over during their Kentucky divorce.
According to reports from the arson investigator, a gas explosion demolished the couple's West Buechel home on Lambert Avenue near Louisville on February 15th. Specifically, David Chism is accused of pouring an accelerant smelling like gasoline throughout the basement and up the stairwell of the home. Chism was the only person in the home when it exploded, and escaped with third-degree burns. According to firefighters at the scene, the explosion lifted the home off its foundation and blew off its front bay window, doors and all bricks.
Two days after the explosion, Chism was arrested on suspicion of causing the fire. According to a WHAS11 television station story, Chism's divorce lawyer, Bart Adams, said during his client's arraignment that the fire was set for insurance fraud purposes. While arson investigators have said that Chism has admitted responsibility for the explosion, he has denied doing it for insurance fraud.
After being released for the time being on a $10,000 full-cash bond, Chism recently revealed little about the explosion but did explain his frustrations with his drawn-out divorce during an exclusive interview with WHAS11.
During the interview, Chism detailed a four-year Louisville divorce in which he grew tired of what he described as his wife complaining about her rough life. Chism specifically alleged that his wife compiled $15,000 worth of divorce attorney fees since April 2006. While she accumulated such large bills, Chism said he reached a boiling point, both mentally and financially.
Chism said that he had a profitable motorcycle business for four years and even billed $144,000 in 2005. Chism added that his business struggled in 2006, which he claimed made his wife's legal divorce fees even more frustrating and taxing. Chism also commented that he tried to do the best that he could to provide for his kids during the divorce.
Stephanie Chism declined comment for the WHAS11 story. According to a past emergency protection order obtained by the television station, Stephanie accused David of domestic violence and previously threatening to burn down the house during the couple's Kentucky divorce. Chism had tried to line up a buyer for the house, but Stephanie blocked this action.
Adams said in the story that no dates have been set for his client's Kentucky divorce case, which will likely take a backseat to the arson charges.
Unfortunately, Chism's actions aren't the first such occurrence of a spouse acting out in reaction to a divorce proceeding. The WHAS11 story briefly detailed a New York divorce case from last summer.
In that case, a doctor refused to sell his $6 million townhouse in order to pay a $4 million New York divorce judgment to his ex-wife. That man also destroyed his property by fire. But unlike Chism, he wasn't so lucky. While Chism escaped with third degree burns, that man died!
And don't forget the case of the Irreconcilable Differences Bandit. One man apparently encountered similar financial difficulties during his California divorce, which prompted a string of bank robberies and thankfully no injuries!