UPDATE (11/02/2023): On Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023, several motions and notices were filed in court in regard to whether Nathaniel Rhum is competent to stand trial. One notice filed was titled “Suggestion of Insanity and Plea of Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity.”
MUNCIE, Ind. — A dispute between neighbors over a dog slaying led one Muncie man to seek revenge by throwing a Molotov cocktail at his neighbor’s dog house in a bid to kill the animal as perceived payback for the death of his own dog, court documents detail.
Nathaniel Ray Rhum, 20, was arrested on Sunday on preliminary charges of attempted murder, criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon, cruelty to animals and criminal mischief.
Court documents detail the proverbial “eye for an eye” incident in which Rhum sought vengeance for the death of his own dog, Athens, at his neighbor’s hand.
According to the documents, Athens was stabbed by Rhum’s neighbor in an act of proclaimed “self-defense” and later died from the injuries.
The neighbor and victim of the firebombings told police that he had stabbed Athens after the dog attacked himself and his own dog for a third time on his property. The stabbing occurred a few days prior to Rhum’s fiery retaliation.
The neighbor told police that on Sunday he was in his yard and saw a fireball come over the fence and hit his chicken coop. Two hours later, Rhum reportedly struck again by shouting “you killed my dog mother******!” and throwing a second Molotov cocktail into the victim’s dog house.
Both the dog and chickens weren’t in their respective homes at the time of the firebombings and weren’t harmed.
Police ended up interviewing Rhum who reportedly admitted to throwing the Molotov cocktails, court documents detail.
Rhum told police he had to bury his dog and wanted to make his neighbor “hurt like he did.”
“I wanted to kill him,” Rhum reportedly told police. “I named that child, I named that puppy… Yeah, I wanted to kill him.”
Rhum reportedly made the Molotov cocktails after stealing gasoline. Witnesses said he was also carrying a baseball bat at the time of the firebombings.