VALPARAISO — A three-month delay has been granted in the trial for an Ogden Dunes man charged with murdering his elderly mother by burning her alive at their home. Frederick Fegely will face a jury April 16 and prosecutors believe the trial will take a couple of weeks. The delay was sought by defense attorney Bob Harper, who said the state is replacing the fire investigator in the case and he needs time to question their expert. Harper said he also needs time to hire an expert of his own to review the evidence.
He was granted a request Friday for nearly $10,000 to hire experts. Harper is arguing Fegely was legally insane when as charged, he killed his mother, Wanda Maxine Wunder, by burning the house they shared in Ogden Dunes on April 16, 2015. Fegely has plead not guilty. If he is found to have been insane, Fegely will be committed to a state hospital until it is determined he no longer poses a danger, at which time he will be released, Harper has said. If Fegely is not found to have been insane, the case will proceed forward in normal fashion. Fegely, who wore the black-and-white-striped garb of a maximum-security jail inmate Friday, was found earlier this year to be competent to aid in his defense. He had been committed to the Logansport State Hospital on Oct. 21, 2016, after three psychological evaluations were done, two of which determined he was incompetent to stand trial. Harper said the hospital was able to use medications to bring Fegely back around to competency. Investigators said Fegely was found to have a flammable liquid on the pajama bottoms he wore after claiming to have fled the fire in question.
Fegely reportedly told police at the time that he was awakened at 4:30 a.m. by a smell he did not recognize and opened his bedroom door to discover heavy smoke in the house. He said he attempted to go upstairs to the main level of the house, but retreated out a basement door and to a neighbor’s house when he encountered heat and heavy smoke. Fegely mentioned he was no longer in his mother’s will, but thought his sister would share her portion with him, police said. He also said his mother was very particular about things and did not like his involvement in various religious teachings, police said.