NORFOLK (CBS) — A man accused of trying to murder his ex-wife with an ax and burn down her house told police he “snapped” and that he was “trying to hurt her or kill her,” according to a police report released Thursday.

Allen Stotts, 71, was charged with attempted homicide, arson, intimidation of a witness, assault, and malicious destruction in the incident in Norfolk Wednesday, and ordered held without bail at his arraignment in Wrentham District Court. The judge also ordered that Stotts undergo a psych evaluation.

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Police said they received a 911 call Wednesday from a woman who said she was locked the bathroom of her River Road home because her ex-husband was trying to kill her after an argument over cigarettes. The line then was disconnected.

After the first call, the woman told police she smelled gas and saw smoke coming up from under the bathroom door, and witnessed Stotts with a gasoline can. When she asked Stotts what he had done, she said he replied, “You ain’t got a house no more.”

They said that, after the initial call, she called back frantically, screaming that the man had set her house on fire. She told investigators that Stotts followed her out with the ax.

Allen Stotts allegedly tried to murder his ex-wife (Photo from Norfolk Police)

Allen Stotts allegedly tried to murder his ex-wife (Photo from Norfolk Police)

Police said that, when they arrived at the home around 4:15 p.m., they found Stotts standing in the driveway with the ax. He told them he had tried to kill the woman with it but missed, and instead doused the house in gasoline and set it on fire.

In an interview with police, Stotts is quoted as saying, “I snapped, I went out, got the gas can, I got the ax, and if she hadn’t moved I would have hit her with it then I torched the living room.”

“I was trying to hurt her or kill her,” Police said Stotts told them. “I wanted to do more than scare her, I really did.”

The victim was able to escape the home and was helped by a passing motorist, who told police she was shouting that a man had blown up her house and had an ax.

Police say the ex-wife is shaken but not injured, and is staying with family.

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Court documents stated that Stotts made several comments about being pushed to the edge, and wanting to kill the woman because he claims she makes him sleep on the living room floor without a mattress–and that he would have killed her with the ax if he hadn’t missed.

“I wanted to kill her, I don’t know what else to tell ya,” Stotts said in an interview with police.

The court documents show the woman filed for divorce from Stotts, and is currently in the 120-day waiting period before it can be finalized.

The documents add that Stotts and the woman have been married for 31 years, and that they have had issues in the past. The woman told police that Stotts came at her with a knife last month when she refused to let him come to the house, and that she hid all the knives out of fear that he would try to kill her.

Police said Stotts told them, “My dead dog Cuji is the only sane person I can talk to.”

Neighbor Tim Barley told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker that he first thought it was just a common fire, but then realized it was something more.

“I found out the details later, and I’m shocked,” he said. “Very nice man, he was always very nice and polite to me … It’s like a movie, a scary movie, a tragedy.”

The house was boarded up on Thursday morning.

Stotts is due back in court February 7 for a dangerousness hearing.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker reports

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