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Local News

Man charged in Lockport fire burned mom's shed 3 years ago

A Lockport man accused of setting a mattress on fire after arguing with his mother about washing the dishes was arrested three years ago for setting his mother’s shed on fire when she refused to give him a cigarette, according to court records.

On Oct. 16, 2016, Edward J. Biller, 37, of the 700 block of East Ninth Street, set his mother’s shed on fire after he became angry with her for refusing to give him a cigarette. He pleaded guilty to arson June 26, 2017, and he was sentenced to three years in prison.

Biller now faces a charge of aggravated arson, accused of torching a mattress Friday after he argued with his mother over washing the dishes, Lockport Deputy Police Chief Ron Huff said.

Biller learned of the new charge Tuesday after he appeared in court via video from the Will County jail. Biller had been arrested Friday in connection with the fire.

Biller was assigned a public defender after he told Judge Chrystel Gavlin he was unemployed and had no source of income.

Biller’s jail photo shows he has an X symbol on his forehead. Huff said he has no idea why Biller has an X on his forehead or when it was put it there.

“I was on the scene with him and don’t recall seeing it,” he said.

Court records show Biller has a troubled history with his parents over the past decade and that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Biller pleaded guilty Feb. 18, 2010, to striking his 65-year-old stepfather in the face.

His stepfather petitioned for a protective order against him Feb. 1, 2010. The order said he was attacked by Biller when he was trying to eat a piece of cake. Biller reportedly told his stepfather he attacked him “because I am angry,” according to the order.

On April 27, 2015, Biller was arrested after he tried to rob a Subway restaurant at 1043 E. Ninth St., Lockport, police said. He later pleaded guilty to aggravated attempted robbery.

Police said Biller produced a note at Subway demanding money from the cashier. Court records said he told the cashier, “I have a loaded gun, put the money in the bag or I will shoot you.”

A weapon was never displayed or recovered, police said. Biller left the store when the Subway staff took too long to produce any money, police said.

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