Independence County man charged with arson


A $40,000 bond has been set on an Independence County man who is charged in Circuit Court with arson.

Court records say Jason B. Roberts, 39, has been charged with that felony.  The charge resulted from a fire on July 4, 2017, in a mobile home in which he was living.

The court documents say Roberts and his wife were the only people in the home at the time of the fire, but claimed no knowledge of how it started.  When police and firemen arrived at the scene, the couple had apparently gone to the hospital emergency room.

The Independence County Sheriff’s Department responded along with the Northside Fire Department and discovered the fire contained within the kitchen of the residence.  The blaze was extinguished and firemen determined that the residence had no electric or gas service activated.  The court information also said firemen discovered the fire scene was inconsistent with their previous experiences with other structure fires occurring under normal circumstances, pointing out this fire had more than one point of origin.  They said the three points of fire origin on the floor of the kitchen did not all connect by evidence of fire. They added that there appeared to be separate ignition points within the same room.

The court information also said the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory detected a trace of ignitable liquid on evidence items that was determined by the lab to be gasoline.

Roberts is currently in jail in lieu of posting the $40,000 bond.

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