Man accused of trying to set neighbor’s house on fire twice


PASQUOTANK COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) — A Pasquotank County couple’s house has caught on fire twice, and they believe the culprit is their neighbor.

Deputies arrested William Kneisly, their neighbor, for attempted arson. They say he tried to set the Clarks’ home on fire on Gaston Drive.

“I just don’t feel safe in my own home, and that’s not right,” said Yolanda Clark.

In early March, newlyweds Archie and Yolanda Clark moved into their Pasquotank County dream home. Two days later, the nightmare began.

“Once, I got home, there were fire trucks there,” she added.

Flames were coming from the side of the house.

Neighbor Tom Woodley rushed over and put the flames out.

“It was burning down in the mulch bed and it went all the way up to the soffit,” Woodley added, referring to the space near the eaves of the house.

Deputies soon learned the suspect was another neighbor, William Kneisly.  He was arrested and released on bond a short time later.

“And then it happened a second time,” Yolanda Clark said.

Two weeks ago, Yolanda Clark was at home when something came crashing through the bedroom window.

“Hearing the glass shatter and I’m on the phone with 911. I’m really thinking my life was about to be over,” she said.

Deputies say a vase was thrown through the window and gas poured on the side of the home. Kneisly was arrested again.

“I don’t why,” Woodley said. “I don’t have a clue why he is picking on this house.”

The Clarks believe it is because they are African-American.  

Kneisly’s mother told 10 On Your Side her son wasn’t targeting anyone. She said he suffers from schizophrenia and autism and didn’t know what he was doing.

“What if the house would have caught fire and my wife was dead,” Archie Clark said. “Can somebody tell me what if that was that?”

For now, Kneisly is in a mental hospital being evaluated to see if he can stand trial.  Even though he’s gone, the Clarks say they can’t sleep at night.

“Your security just goes away,” Yolanda added.  “I don’t feel safe in my home. I just wish something would be done about the situation.”

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