$10K bond for suspect in 5 arsons, arrested after Christmas Day fire at his own home

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WALWORTH COUNTY -- Cash bond was set at $10,000 Wednesday, Dec. 26 for Daniel Zitella, 29, a man prosecutors said admitted involvement in a series of arsons in the Delavan area in Walworth County. An investigation is ongoing to determine whether Zitella set fire to his own home on Christmas Day.

Zitella was arrested on Tuesday, Dec. 25 for obstructing officers -- a violation of his bond in a case in which he's facing five counts of arson, filed on Dec. 18. The arrest happened after a fire at his listed address on Darlington Street in Delavan -- less than a week after Zitella posted $1,000 bond and was released from custody on Dec. 19.

In court on Wednesday, Zitella was ordered not to possess or use any matches or lighters, and have no contact with the victims. He could face more charges for the fire at his home. He was also ordered to have no contact with that address.

Town of Delavan police said it happened shortly before 9 a.m. at a home on Darlington Street. Arriving first responders found a fully-engulfed shed at the scene, which started the unattached garage on fire as well. The fire was extinguished, and police said an investigation revealed it was suspicious in nature.

Zitella was arrested after two fires in Delavan on Dec. 10 and Dec. 12. Prosecutors said Zitella told officials he was also involved in three other fires dating back to 2016.

Daniel Zitella

Court records show he has serious mental health issues, and prosecutors said he admitted to setting other fires in the Delavan neighborhood. He was released on Dec. 19 after posting his $1,000 bond.

"Putting lives in danger, especially in an area where there's a lot of houses next to each other...(On Wednesday), the shed was fully engulfed, as well as the garage. It was partially on fire at the time. He was arrested for violations of conditions of bond. He was obstructing our officers and he was arrested for that (Wednesday)," said Raymond Clark with the Town of Raymond Police Department.

During Wednesday's court hearing, it was once again mentioned that Zitella suffers from a cognitive mental issue. According to Zitella, this was all a misunderstanding with police.

"He's been arrested. Obviously not convicted yet, but I believe we have the person in custody and everything is safe out there," said Clark.

FOX6 News spoke with a longtime friend of Zitella, who said this was all a misunderstanding, and he doesn't believe Zitella was involved in these incidents.

Zitella will be back in court on Jan. 2 for further proceedings.

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