Patrick Richardson

Managing Editor

Accused arsonist Kenneth “Donut“ Webber was in court on Tuesday for what was originally scheduled to be a preliminary hearing.

Instead District Court Judge Oliver Kent Lynch ordered a competency evaluation for the 52 year-old Webber.

Webber will be evaluated by Spring River Mental Health and Wellness Center in order to determine if he is competent to stand trial for the Nov. 5, 2010 fire at 535 W. Olive in Columbus.

If Webber is found competent the preliminary hearing will be rescheduled. If he is found not-competent he will likely be sent to the Larned State Hospital, in Larned, for further evaluation.

Webber was charged with arson of a building with intent to defraud or cause harm, residential burglary and conspiracy to commit arson with the intent to defraud or cause harm. All three charges are felonies.

Webber was arrested Nov. 16, 2010 at the Free Store in Columbus for the alleged arson. The house was owned by Joann Slaugh, who lives at 522 W. Olive. Slaugh, 73, and Kathryn A. Gray, 53, have also been charged with arson and conspiracy to commit arson in connection with the fire.

Slaugh had in the past been a foster parent for The Farm Inc. in Pittsburg. Kalisha Burtrum, with TFI, told the Advocate last year TFI had withdrawn sponsorship of Slaugh on Oct. 20, 2009.

“Her contract was terminated with cause,” Burtrum said. “We closed the home down.”

Burtrum said she could not comment on why the contract was terminated.

Slaugh is scheduled to be in court 1 p.m. April 4. A new court date for Gray has not been set.