August 22, 2013

Man indicted for arson

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer


A London man who set his house on fire just after being released from jail was indicted for arson last week.

Stephen McWilliams, 29, of 1846 North Mill Street in London, was indicted by a Laurel grand jury on Friday for second-degree arson.

McWilliams and his girlfriend were living in a residence owned by his girlfriend’s mother. McWilliams had been incarcerated for alcohol intoxication on July 30 around 8:10 p.m., according to jail records. He was released just after midnight on July 31 after serving the mandatory four hours in jail.

But his release was not his last encounter with police.

Less than an hour after McWilliams was released from jail, police and firefighters were at the North Mill Street residence after a fire raged through the home.

Neighbors saw McWilliams leave the residence and soon afterward, saw flames coming from the home. Investigators found books on the burners of the stove in the kitchen, with the knobs set on high.

Neighbors also told police McWilliams and his girlfriend had an argument and she left, then saw McWilliams leaving just before the fire broke out.

Police contacted McWilliams, who came back to the scene and was arrested for arson. London Police Detective Gary Proffitt said McWilliams even turned over a refrigerator and blocked a side door to the home to hamper efforts of firefighters to gain access inside the house.

Proffitt said the home sustained some smoke damage throughout, but the majority of the damage was in the kitchen area where the fire started.

An indictment is an accusation only and does not indicate guilt or innocence.