COUNCIL GROVE, Kan. (WIBW) -- The suspect accused of setting a Council Grove man on fire maintains his innocence. Now, the case is headed to trial.
Isaac Wilson, 23, is charged with a crime that has left a 54-year-old man recovering from severe burns to his hands and lower body.
Wilson is accused of attacking Sterling Law at Law’s Council Grove home on Orchard Street in October.
Officials say Law was sitting inside when Wilson came in, drenched him in rubbing alcohol and ignited him with a cigarette lighter.
Wilson is charged with Aggravated Battery and Aggravated Burglary in connection with the incident.
On Tuesday, he waived his formal arraignment and entered not guilty pleas to all of his charges.
The victim, Sterling Law, was in court in the audience and told 13 News after the court proceedings that most of the sores from his burns have healed on his hands, legs and stomach. He says his wounds and recovering kept him out of work for a month and that it was difficult to see Wilson in person in the courtroom.
The United State Attorney's Office for the District of Kansas has been reviewing the case to determine whether or not it is a federal hate crime. Wilson is white and Sterling Law is black.
However, those close to Law do not believe the attack was racially motivated. They think Sterling was targeted because of his mental disability. His brother calls him a "simple man."
Isaac Wilson also has other charges pending against him, including a stalking case and another Aggravated Battery charge. Wilson is accused of beating another man, Andrew Maiden, with a metal pipe and threatening him in the same early morning hours that Sterling Law was set on fire. The Morris County Attorney Laura Allen says the stalking case involves his child's mother.
Wilson's trial has been set for March 26th in Morris County. He remains in custody. A no contact order was modified so that Wilson's daughter could visit him in jail.
A group of protesters called Bias Busters sent out a notice that they would be outside of the courthouse Tuesday demanding that the case be prosecuted as a hate crime but WIBW crews did not see anyone protesting near the facility.
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