CARROLL COUNTY, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - A couple of Carroll County men are behind bars after investigators said they set a neighbor’s home and much more on fire.
Firefighter helmet cam video shows Carroll County firefighters as they douse a blaze which destroyed a family’s mobile home, vehicles, and other structures.
Next door neighbors, 43-year-old Ray Hunton and 21-year-old Jake Marlow, were both arrested and charged with multiple counts of arson.
Investigators said they were recorded on yet to be released security video from the victim’s home.
“We’ve been able to make the arrests based on the two individuals that were in the footage and the interviews we did on-scene that day,” said Deputy Chief Bud Benefield with the Carroll County Fire Rescue Department
Fire investigators are working with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office.
Police records show deputies responded to the victim’s home on Mandeville Road multiple times on what started as a land dispute between Hunton and his neighbor Jahandar.
Other calls involved criminal damage, including someone cutting power wires to Jahandar’s home.
“We do believe that Mr. Hunton did not like the Jahandar’s living there,” said Investigator Ashley Hulsey with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office who also indicated it may have been racial or ethnic reason.
Adding to her suspicions was a sign which reads “Not Wanted Go Home” which was placed on property which appears to be Huntons.
Investigator Hulsey said since there is no hate crime statute in Georgia she’ll work with the district attorney’s office to determine if a charge of terroristic threat is in order.
“We will turn our file over to our district attorney’s office and confer with them,” said Investigator Hulsey.
Leler Leggett said she is the common-law wife of Hunton.
“It has nothing to do with race. We have been arguing over a property line and he’s trying to push us over,” said Leggett.
She said her neighbor has excessively called the police over the property line dispute with her common-law husband, Hunton.
It’s a fairly small piece of real estate which has led to big consequences.
“We’re not talking about but a foot but it’s my foot,” said Leggett.
She also told FOX 5 News she believes the fire which destroyed the mobile home and other structures started when the homeowner was burning leaves and debris in his yard last.
However, Deputy Chief Benefield said investigators quickly discounted that scenario because the fires were separate and an accelerant was used in the arson fire.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is also involved in the case and anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-282-5804. There could be a reward of up to $10,000.