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MATEWAN — A Kentucky man was arrested by police in West Virginia this past week after a Matewan home was set ablaze.

John Payne, 30, of Hardy was arrested Aug. 6 by the Williamson detachment of the West Virginia State Police and charged with first-degree arson, according to a criminal complaint filed in Mingo County Magistrate Court.

According to the complaint, Payne was allegedly arguing with his girlfriend who was located inside of a home in the Matewan area when he threatened to burn the house down.

The homeowner told police that he walked to the front of his house and began to smell smoke. He walked to the rear of the residence and saw a pile of trash on fire along with the residence, which had three occupants inside.

Payne allegedly fled the scene and was located by troopers walking along WV Route 49. He admitted to threatening to burn the home, but told police he was not the one who set it on fire.

WVSP Polygraph Examiner Sgt. P.J. Dick arrived to conduct a polygraph examination, and Payne refused to comply.

Officers viewed footage from a nearby residence that showed a man running from the back of the residence within minutes of the fire occurring.

The trooper also observed a burnt pile of trash and burn damage to the home and the roof, according to the complaint.

Payne was arrested and was arraigned in Magistrate Court by Jim Harvey, who reprimanded him to the Southwestern Regional Jail in lieu of a $20,000 bail.

Cpl. D.C. Moore was listed on the complaint as the arresting officer.

Here are more criminal complaints filed in Mingo Magistrate Court:

  • Ezra Blankenship, 51, of Gilbert was arrested Aug. 7 by the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department and charged with domestic battery.
  • Paul David Dempsey, 37, of Williamson was arrested Aug. 3 by the Williamson Police Department and charged with unlawful possession of heroin/fentanyl. He was also charged with burglary and grand larceny on a separate complaint.
  • Daniel Hall, 43, of Ragland was arrested Aug. 5 by the MCSD and charged with possession of adultered pseudophedrine.
  • Clyde Melvin Duff, Jr., 35, of Crum was arrested Aug. 3 by the WVSP and charged with domestic battery and fleeing on foot. Duff was also charged with battery in an old warrant.
  • Sherran Ray Justice, 43. of Baisden was arrested Aug. 3 by the MCSD and charged with three counts obstructing an officer, two counts battery of an officer, two counts possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance.
  • Larry Ray Huff, 58, of Gilbert was arrested Aug. 3 by the MCSD and the U.S. 119 Drug Task Force and charged with delivery of a controlled substance.
  • Cletis Ray Lester, 43, of Gilbert was arrested Aug. 3 by the WVSP and charged with unauthorized use of an access device, forgery, destruction of property and petit larceny.
  • Terry Likens, 65, of Verner was arrested Aug. 3 by the Gilbert Police Department and charged with conspiracy, grand larceny and destruction of property.
  • Danny P. Wellman, 52, of Williamson was arrested Aug. 3 by the MCSD and charged with failure to register as a sex offender.
  • Sean P. Browning, 44, of Delbarton was arrested Aug. 3 by the WVSP and charged with failure to register as a sex offender.
  • Alissa Nichole Hendricks, 22, of Chattaroy was arrested Aug. 2 by the WVSP and charged with joy riding.
  • Marcella Davis, 56, of Goodman Hollow was arrested Aug. 1 by the Williamson Police Department and charged with obstructing and possession of a controlled substance.
  • Savannah Belcher of Varney was arrested July 31 by the MCSD and U.S. 119 Drug Task Force and charged with two counts delivery of a controlled substance.
  • Kari Ann Fields of Edgarton was arrested Aug. 6 by the MCSD and charged with driving revoked.

Disclaimer: All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. A criminal complaint is a document that alleges a criminal charge.

Jarrid McCormick is a reporter for the Williamson Daily News. He can be reached by email at jmccormick@HDMediaLLC.com.