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Posted on Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 5:40 p.m.

Man charged with arson in Oct. 3 fire in Pittsfield Township apartment

By Kyle Feldscher

A 34-year-old Pittsfield Township man is charged with arson for allegedly setting an apartment bathroom on fire on Oct. 3, according to court records.


James Shelby Blake

Courtesy Pittsfield Township Public Safety Department

James Shelby Blake, 34 of Pittsfield Township, was arraigned Wednesday on a charge each of arson of a dwelling or home, malicious destruction of property of fire or police property, assaulting, resisting or obstructing a police officer and breaking and entering. His bond was set at 10 percent of $7,500.

Pittsfield Township Public Safety Department personnel responded to Arbor Pointe Apartments at 10:50 p.m. Oct. 3 after being dispatched for a fire in the bathroom of a first-floor apartment. Blake was stopped by officers while riding away from the incident on his bicycle, police said.

Police said Blake resisted arrest so forcefully that officers were forced to use a Taser in order to subdue him. While Blake was being driven to the Washtenaw County Jail, he allegedly kicked out the window of the patrol vehicle he was riding in. The damage to the window was more than $1,000, according to police.

Pittsfield Township Deputy Police Chief Gordy Schick said Blake was picked up by Pittsfield Township police from Detroit on Tuesday and brought back to the Washtenaw County Jail. He is scheduled to have a preliminary exam at 1 p.m. Oct. 27.

If convicted, Blake faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for the arson charge, four years in prison for the malicious destruction of property charge, two years in prison for assaulting, resisting or obstructing a police officer charge and 90 days for the breaking and entering charge.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.


Tonya Mccune-kilburn

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 8:06 p.m.

I know this guy! I used to hang out with him alot back in the day and he was such a good person who NEVER would have done something like this! People sure do change and im guessing drugs were a factor!

Tonya Mccune-kilburn

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 8:11 p.m.

I cant help but laugh that he got tased! I can picture it! LOL

Jimmy McNulty

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 12:44 p.m.

@Kyle, I'm confused as to the timeline of events in the article. He was arrested in Pittsfield Oct 3. His bond was a paltry $750. Did he post it? Secondly, assuming he was free on bond, why did Pittsfield officers travel to Detroit on Oct 18th to bring him back to the Hogback Hilton if he was free on bond, and the hearing is not until Oct 27th??

Jimmy McNulty

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 8:50 p.m.

Thanks Kyle. I just assumed he was arrested and booked the same day. It does seem odd that he was released after the vandalism of the patrol car window.

Kyle Feldscher

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 3:09 p.m.

Jimmy- Sorry if it was unclear. The incident occurred on Oct. 3, but he was not charged until yesterday. His bond was set yesterday as well. I can't exactly answer what he was doing in Detroit, but the facts suggest that he was released because the prosectors had to approve the charges before he could be arraigned.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 2:11 a.m.

Mr. Blake is another casuality to our failings in the area of mental health. It is unfortunate that he can't get the help that he so obviously needs.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 4:35 p.m.

sallie. You are correct. One of the biggest failures of our local mental health system is that low-income people, especially African Americans are not given appropriate access to mental health services. Instead, they often end up in the criminal justice system as a means of containing them. The excuse the system use is that people do not seek the services. Well, its my understanding that two criteria used in determined whether a person can be forced to seek services is that they pose a danger to society or themselves. Clearly, this man seem to fit this profile. Its a shame that so much money is poured into the system, big salaries are paid to mental health professionals, yet the best some citizens can expect is to be criminalized for having mental health issues.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 1:48 a.m.

If convicted, he deserves the max on all charges. This is a person that thinks he is above the law. Credibility??? Police do what they have to in this case. Their job is not a personality or popularity contest! Great job Pittsfield Twp.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 10:28 p.m.

Unless the Pittsfield Twp police are driving Bentleys now, there's no way the car window costs "more than $1,000". It's the police committing perjury just to up a secondary charge, MDOP, to a felony level. It's no wonder police have so little credibility with so many people.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 10:42 p.m.

Keep in mind $1000 is most likely the public sector price. Money is no object when taxpayers are footing the bill.