Centerville couple involved in home invasion, attack and fire describe the events

Jul 25, 2022, 6:43 PM | Updated: 7:28 pm

A Centerville couple is recovering after they lost their 35-year home to a fire in what they say is...

Centerville couple interviewed about the events that took place at their home. (Lindsay Aerts KSL NewsRadio)

(Lindsay Aerts KSL NewsRadio)

CENTERVILLE, Utah — A Centerville couple is recovering after they lost their 35-year home to a fire in what they say is a random, brazen home invasion.

Bethanie Schmucker and Clarence Newman, both in their early 70’s, describe being punched and kicked by a man after he had entered their home and lit their back deck on fire. The fire eventually engulfed all but the brick of their house.


The intrusion

Schmucker said their garage door was open Thursday midday when the man walked into their home office.

“I saw the gas can and I got up from my chair, and I said what are you doing in here?” Schmucker said. “Then he said, ‘I’m just going to burn this house up.'”

Schmucker said the man left at one point, but then came back in, swearing and looking for the couple. Schmucker was on the phone with the police.

“He saw me on the phone with the police and that’s where he hit my mouth and broke my teeth,” she said.

Schmucker says the man then made his way through the kitchen, out to the back deck where he lit the fire, then back into the house. Her husband was watching TV in the bedroom.

Newman describes the moment he saw the suspect.

“This individual comes through the door with a gas can, spread the gas all over the floor and me, and said, ‘I want your money or I’m going to burn your house down,’ said Newman.

Trying to fight back

Newman said he took a swing at the man with a water bottle.

“And I just hit him in the side of the head, I think it really pissed him off,” he said.

According to Newman, the man then left and walked down the hall. By the time Newman was able to get up and leave the room he describes seeing his wife on the ground in the hallway, and the man taking aim at him.

“He had hit her again, and then he hit me. After it happened I thought he had dislocated my jaw because when I shut my mouth my teeth wouldn’t line up,” said Newman

Newman said he was kicked a few more times before the man left.

Getting out of Centerville home

Newman and Schmucker say black smoke filled the bedrooms as they were trying to crawl to safety. They also had to work to get to Beth’s father, Mike, who was also living in the house. Schmucker says he was unharmed, physically.

After all three were able to get out, Newman said there was an explosion.

“(I) was standing there between the motorhome and the house and all the sudden I hear this crashes and the windows get blown out of the deck up above, flames blowin’ out,” he said.

“Totally random” attack

Newman said he has never seen the suspect before in his life.

“There’s no doubt in my mind he was possessed,” he said, “Whether it was with drugs or the devil or whatever, I feel bad for him because I don’t think if he was in his right mind this would have happened.”

Newman and Schmucker also says they’ve heard rumors from the people in their neighborhood accusing them of knowing the suspect.

“It’s just not true. It’s just crap,” Newman said.

Schmucker said a neighbor had seen the man in their driveway.

“So I think our garage was (just) open,” she said when asked why their home might have been the one broken into.

What’s next?

The home is a total loss. Newman says he built the house 35 years ago.

“I was building it for my kids,” he said through tears. “So they’d have a home.”

Newman has three adult kids, Schmucker is their step-mom.

They’ve set up a GoFundMe and say homeowners insurance won’t be covering the amount the couple now needs.

KSL NewsRadio does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and
otherwise proceed at your own risk.


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Crime, Police + Courts

A FingerPrint Pad and paperwork from Clean Slate Utah is laid out at Utah Support Advocates for Rec...

Eric Cabrera

Expungement clinic held today in Salt Lake City in honor of Juneteenth

Clean Slate Utah and the NAACP Utah is holding a free Juneteenth expungement clinic today.

1 hour ago

A twin-engine Cessna passenger plane has crashed in Steamboat Springs. It is believed to have been ...

Alexander Campbell, KSL TV

Two dead after plane traveling to Ogden crashes in Steamboat Springs, Colo.

A twin-engined Cessna 421 airplane has crashed into the West Acres mobile home park in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, engulfing two buildings.

9 hours ago

A convicted serial killer on death row in California is now facing a new charge for a 1998 murder i...

Heather Peterson

Police believe convicted serial killer is responsible for 1998 murder in Utah

A convicted serial killer on death row in California is now facing a new charge for a 1998 murder in Salt Lake City.

1 day ago

A driver on West Valley hit two individuals and fled away....

Esme Sanchez Estevez

A driver hit two individuals and fled away on West Valley

On Thursday night a driver hit two individuals. While trying to get away from the police, she crashed with two cars. The Suspect is under investigation.

3 days ago

A South Jordan police vehicle is pictured in South Jordan. A person was shot by police, and later d...

Esme Sanchez Esteves and Kennedy Camarena

Family speaks out after brother died in South Jordan police shooting

Police in South Jordan say officers shot someone who wielded a knife and came at them in a neighborhood park.

3 days ago

Rocio Cifuentes hold a picture of her sister, Gaby Ramos, allegedly killed at the hands of her ex-b...

Tim Vandenack,

Women ‘need to speak out’: Gaby Ramos killing spurs sister to take up domestic violence cause

Rocio Sifuentes recruit helps in tracking the sister's ex-boyfriend who killed her. Manuel Burciaga-Perea is now jailed in Utah.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Centerville couple involved in home invasion, attack and fire describe the events