Mom Says Her Son Needs Help Not Jail After Bethany Arson Arrest
BETHANY, Oklahoma - A Bethany man is charged with burglary, assault and arson after police said he broke into his grandmother’s home Saturday and torched her garage. His family said he doesn’t need jail time, he needs help.
Bethany police were called to the home on Northwest 30th Street twice on Saturday, August 31.
The first time was when, they said, 33-year-old Andrew Helton kicked in his grandmother’s door and trashed the place.
“By the time officers were able to get there, he was gone. They could not locate him. They made entrance into the residence trying to find where he was at, but he wasn’t there. Looks like the house had been ransacked and destroyed. A lot of the furniture was broken and turned upside down,” said Lt. Angelo Orefice of the Bethany Police Department.
Cops came back a few hours later when, they said, Helton set his grandmother’s garage on fire, destroying some of the pictures and keepsakes his aunt was storing there.
Helton’s mother sifted through the rubble. It’s become a metaphor for her son’s life. She said he suffers with schizophrenia.
“He would say things like, ‘Are you really my mom? And break my heart. Because he needed help. And there’s not help. There’s not good help for people with mental problems,” said Mrs. Helton.
Mrs. Helton said her family has taken her son to the hospital and called police but can’t seem to get any help.
“Took him to different hospitals and nobody would do anything for him. And so, on Thursday night, it all escalated, and we called the cops because we thought he was going to hurt himself or somebody else,” she said.
Helton barricaded himself in his bedroom Saturday, but he surrendered when police arrived.
Mrs. Helton believes he may have had a moment of mentally clarity and that may have saved his life Saturday. She said she just wants her son to get the help he needs.
“If we could have gotten mental help, I don’t think any of this would have happened,” she said. “There’s not a whole lot you can do. We tried. We tried so hard.”