Man charged with homicide, arson in Chippewa Falls set for arraignment

58-year-old Scott Vaningan is scheduled to be arraigned on August 31.
Scott Vaningan
Scott Vaningan(Chippewa Falls Police Department)
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 2:29 PM CDT
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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) - A Chippewa Falls man charged with homicide and arson after a house fire in Chippewa Falls on July 27 is scheduled to be arraigned later this month.

58-year-old Scott Vaningan, who was charged with 1st-degree intentional homicide, arson of a building without the owner’s consent, mutilating a corpse and bail jumping in Chippewa County Circuit Court on Aug. 3, waived his preliminary hearing in court during a review hearing Thursday and will be arraigned on Aug. 31.

In Wisconsin, an arraignment is where the defendant is formally charged and enters their plea. Vaningan can plead guilty, not guilty or no contest to the charges against him.

According to court documents filed with the charges, Vaningan is accused of intentionally starting a fire at the home he was living at on Superior Street in Chippewa Falls, resulting in a woman’s death. An autopsy determined that the woman was killed before the fire, as medical examiners found multiple puncture wounds in the victim’s neck. Vaningan was found a few hours after the fire with a box cutter covered in blood, as well as blood on his pants and scratch marks on his arm. Witnesses told police that they frequently heard arguing from the home in Chippewa Falls, but the altercation the morning of the fire seemed more intense. Chippewa Falls Police said in a release that the victim was known to Vaningan and that the fire is an isolated incident.

Vaningan is being held at the Chippewa County Jail on a $1.5 million cash bond with conditions that he not possess any dangerous weapons, leave the state of Wisconsin or come with a quarter-mile of 721 Superior Street, Vaningan’s listed address and where the fire took place. He was taken into custody on Thursday, July 28 without incident, according to the Chippewa Falls Police Department. Vaningan faces a life sentence in prison if convicted of the homicide charge. If convicted of Arson, Vaningan could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison, fined up to $100,000 or both.

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