Detectives investigating the two April 27 burglaries and arsons in Emmett recovered items stolen from the churches in a house less than a half-mile away, according to court documents obtained by the Statesman.
Community Bible Church and First Baptist Church were burglarized - a safe, computer equipment and other items were stolen - before the buildings were set ablaze sometime before 4:30 a.m.
Emmett Police Chief Steve Nebeker said his department fielded between two and 20 tips a day from the community after the fires.
"Our detectives were running nonstop," Nebeker said. The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted in the investigation.
One tip led Emmett police to a house in the 800 block of Hayes Street, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Three people were living in a rental home there: Bradley R. Thomasson, William C. Dorahush Jr., and Tammy Hannan, Hannan told police.
Hannan told investigators she saw her boyfriend, Dorahush, and Thomasson return home with the stolen items the morning of the fires.
She said the men left for a short time after dumping the loot at the house. She said Dorahush later told her that they set fire to the churches to cover their tracks.
Thomasson, 41, and Dorahush, 45, were both charged May 15 with felony arson, burglary and theft.
By then, both men were in the Gem County Jail on unrelated charges. Thomasson was being held on charges of absconding while on parole; Dorahush was being held on a warrant involving drug charges in Oklahoma.
Dorahush is scheduled to appear in Gem County Court at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday for a preliminary hearing. His attorney requested a mental evaluation to determine his fitness for trial. Thomasson's case has been sealed by the court; officials were unable to immediately explain why.
Investigators found two marijuana plants when they searched the house on Hayes Street. Hannan said the plants belonged to Dorahush, but conceded that she had taken care of them. She was charged with felony manufacturing a controlled substance; her preliminary hearing is scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday.
A neighbor said that Dorahush moved into the house with a woman a couple of months before the fire, and that Thomasson joined them later.
The 84-year-old neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said none of the three had jobs. They were friendly and didn't cause any trouble. She helped them out with extra food on at least one occasion and enlisted Dorahush's help with yard work.
She recalled talking with the men after hearing about the church fires.
"I said, 'If it was men, they should hang them up by their man parts,'" she said. "After that, they didn't say much."
She was surprised to learn that her neighbors were suspects in the case - but she was more shocked that one is a convicted killer.
Thomasson was in prison for 22 years for murdering his adopted parents in Lewiston in 1989.
Thomasson, 17 at the time, told police he argued with his father about using the family car, according to the Lewiston Tribune. The Tribune reported that blood stains showed both had been shot in their bed.
Thomason was in prison from 1990 to January 2012.
Dorahush's criminal history includes convictions for arson, burglary, grand theft, escape and possession of a firearm. He was incarcerated in Idaho from 1993 to 2011, and faces drug charges in Oklahoma and Idaho.
Police believe Thomasson and Dorahush met in prison in Idaho. They lived in the same housing unit at least four times between 2001 and 2011, according to the Department of Correction.
Emmett is a quiet town of 6,500 about 30 miles northwest of Boise.
"One question we've all been asking is, 'Why did they end up here?" Emmett Mayor Bill Buttici. "No one seems to know."
"I've never seen them before," said Ruby Clark, an Emmett native who has lived on Hayes Street across from Community Bible Church for 20 years.
Nebeker said the churches had hidden entries and easy access - a broken window in one and an old door in the other.
Katy Moeller: 377-6413