Neighbor Torched Sex Offender's Future Home

Wisconsin man, 50, faces felony arson charge

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Wisconsin Arson

FEBRUARY 25--In an attempt to keep a sex offender from moving into his neighborhood, a Wisconsin man allegedly set fire to the residence that was to house the convicted felon, police allege.

Russell Speigle, 50, was arrested Monday in connection with Sunday night’s blaze in Cottage Grove, a town outside Madison. Speigle lives down the block from the torched home, which was destroyed in the fire.

As seen in the adjacent mug shot, Speigle had fresh burns on his face when police apprehended him.

Investigators brought Speigle to a Madison hospital “where he was examined by physicians in the Burn Unit,” according to the Dane County Sheriff’s Office. After spending a night in the hospital, Speigle was released yesterday afternoon and subsequently booked into the county jail.

Cops are also investigating whether Speigle was involved in setting an earlier fire at the residence, which was to be the future home of Harold Nyberg, 40, who was convicted in 1994 of sexually assaulting a child. Nyberg was to be placed in the home as part of Wisconsin’s supervised sex offender release program.

Nyberg (seen at left) is classified as a “sexually violent person” on Wisconsin’s sex offender registry, which lists his current address as a “supervised living facility” in Mauston, a city about 75 miles away from Cottage Grove.

Speigle was one of several Cottage Grove residents who spoke out earlier this month at a meeting with sheriff’s representatives about Nyberg moving into the community.  Speigle told a local newspaper that he was “upset and on guard” about Nyberg relocating to the neighborhood. (1 page)