Man admits to setting wife on fire

Local News

A man who police said set his wife on fire, a deed that ultimately killed her, in September has pleaded guilty.

Eddie L. Caldwell pleaded guilty to Murder Friday in Allen Superior Court. He was accused of killing his wife Lizzie Lee Caldwell, 68, in an incident at her home at 5613 Harrison Street, near West Paulding Road and Bishop Luers High School, around 8:45 a.m. Sept. 12.

Firefighters were called to the home around 8:45 that morning. When they got to the scene, they found smoke and flames rising from the single-story home.

Lizzie Caldwell was taken from the fire covered in burns. She would die of Respiratory and Renal Failure due to Thermal Burns just under three weeks later.

Eddie Caldwell was arrested at the scene. He had initially faced charges of Burglary, Arson, Aggravated Battery and Invasion of Privacy but was charged with Murder after his wife died.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Eddie Caldwell told police he got into a fight with his wife before going to a nearby gas station and filling a water bottle with gasoline. He waited for a grandson to leave the house before breaking in the front door, heading to the bedroom and covering himself and Lizzie Caldwell with the gas. He admitted flicking a lighter, starting the fire.

Lizzie filed a protection order less than a week before the incident, claiming verbal abuse and threats of violence from Eddie Caldwell. It was approved. According to court documents Eddie Caldwell did show a credible threat of danger to his wife. 

In court Friday, Eddie Caldwell said he was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine and angry when he tried to kill himself and his wife. He also told the court he suffered from a mental illness but he could not say which specific illness.

Caldwell will be sentenced April 26. A murder charge carries a sentencing range of 45-65 years, according to Indiana Code.

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