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Teacher accused of setting comforter on fire

By Staff | Sep 14, 2011

Eric Watson Zuspann



A Cape Coral teacher was arrested and charged with arson Tuesday after he allegedly set a bed comforter on fire during an argument with his wife.

Eric Watson Zuspann, 43, of 1121 S.E. 35th Terrace, was booked into the Lee County Jail on one count of first-degree arson of dwelling building, people present. He remained there Wednesday on $20,000 bond, jail records state.

He could not immediately be reached for comment.

According to an arrest report, Cape police responded to a report of arson late Tuesday night. A woman stated that her husband was setting a closet on fire inside of the home because he was upset that she had taken his Vicodin.

Officers arrived and identified Zuspann in the garage. He was detained and police located his wife, who stated that the fire had already been put out.

Zuspann told police that he had been involved in a verbal argument with his wife earlier in the evening and he decided to go out back and have a beer, the report states. While Zuspann was outside, the verbal argument continued.

At one point, his wife reportedly took his Vicodin, which angered him.

He entered the home and went into the master bedroom closet, where he reportedly proceeded to pour tiki torch oil onto a comforter and light it on fire. He immediately stomped out the fire and smothered it with a blanket.

According to the report, Zuspann then gathered up his wife’s prescription medications and headed outside through the garage. His wife stopped him and grabbed several bottles. The rest Zuspann began to throw out into the road.

Zuspann told police that he tried to go back inside, but his wife locked him out. He was thinking about using a hammer on the door when police arrived.

During an interview with police, Zuspann’s wife reportedly stated that she and her husband were involved in an argument when she took his medications. She said he used tiki fluid to light her closet on fire, then she called police.

There were three children present in the home during the incident.

Zuspann was taken into custody and charged.

His wife could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Zuspann is a teacher at Island Coast High School, the report states.

Joe Donzelli, spokesman for the Lee County School District, reported that the professional standards and equity board could move to suspend him with pay, which is a standard operating procedure, while the facts are gathered.

“We have to serve him that information, so we can’t do it while he’s in jail,” Donzelli said.

The board could recommend suspension without pay down the road.

Zuspann has a court appearance scheduled Oct. 17.