One man charged with six counts of attempted felony murder after police say he set a house on fire.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office says 27-year-old Michael John Hicks was visiting a Middleburg home late last night where several children were present. He drank for a while and then apparently became “belligerent”, according to the police report. He was then asked to leave, later return and asked to leave again.
52-year-old Patrice Marie Vaughn and 9 year-old Joshua Vaughn then went to sleep. 17-year-old Phillip Vaughn stayed up on the computer. About 1 AM Monday he smelled smoke, which he later realized was coming from where his mother and brother were sleeping.
Investigators say Vaughn and Charles McMillan extinguished the fire.
Outside, they found Hicks, who claimed he was there to save them, and told investigators he played a part in extinguishing the fire.
The State Fire Marshall and a K-9 eventually determined an accelerant was used to start the fire, and the dog found traces of that accelerant on Hicks. He was also slightly burned, in a way investigators say is consistent with setting the fire or being a part in setting it.
Hicks is now charged with six counts of felony attempted murder and arson to an occupied dwelling. He will make his first court appearance Tuesday morning. He has a long criminal record, including arrests for arson, burglary, drug charges and assault.