An Alliance man is facing a plethora of charges, including attempted murder, arson and child abuse, after allegedly starting a fire at his residence with the intent to kill his roommate.
Cornell Belt, 49, was arraigned in Box Butte County Court on Dec. 31, where he faces prison time for charges related to an incident on Christmas Eve.
According to court records, on Dec. 24, 2019, officers from the Alliance Police Department responded to a disturbance in the 700 block of East Ninth Street between Belt, his wife, and his roommate.
Upon investigating the incident, officers determined Belt arrived home after drinking and yelled for his roommate, who lives in the basement, to fight him. Belt, court records state, believed his roommate and his wife were involved in an affair.
Belt went to the bedroom where his wife and seven-year-old child were staying, and he told them that the house was on fire. The child ran to a neighbor’s residence after Belt’s wife saw fire at the top of the stairs.
In the kitchen of the residence, Belt’s wife watched as he grabbed the stove and tried to pull it away from the wall, court records state, in an attempt to break the gas line and cause an explosion. When she tried to stop him, Belt allegedly told her that he would, “blow (her) up.”
During the investigation, officers determined that the fire was started at the top of the stairs by Belt to possibly prevent his roommate from leaving the residence. Belt was taken into custody, and, during an interview at the Alliance Police Station, Belt told officers that, “if he had a firearm he would have killed both (his roommate) and his wife.”
Belt was charged with attempted first degree murder, a class 2 felony, first degree arson, a class 2 felony, terroristic threats, a class 3A felony, child abuse, a class 3A felony, and third degree domestic assault, a class 1 misdemeanor. If he is found guilty, Belt faces up to 50 years in prison, with a mandatory minimum of one year in prison for each of the class 2 felonies. He faces three years in prison for the class 3A felonies.
Belt has a preliminary hearing in Box Butte County Court on Thursday.