Three Auburn Residents Arrested for Church Arsons

Auburn, Ala.--Three Auburn residents have been charged with a series of church fires in Lee and Chambers counties, State Fire Marshal Ed Paulk announced today.

The two men and a woman, all 20 years old, have been arrested on arson and burglary charges in relation to the fires at Liberty CME and the Union Hill CME in the Oak Bowery community in Chambers County, and the Pitts Chapel United Methodist Church near Salem in Lee County. Investigators believe the fires occurred on a single night in mid-February.

The men arrested are Christopher Michael Ware, who lives on Cottage Lane in Auburn, and Taylor Hensley Jennings, who lives on Lee County Road 12. The female is Cody Lauren Jasper, who lives on East Magnolia Avenue. They have all been charged with two counts of second-degree arson and third-degree burglary in Chambers County, and one count of both charges in Lee County. They are being held in the Chambers County jail.

"This has been a long, detailed investigation," Paulk said. "It is not over, and there may be more arrests. We owe to the membership of these congregations to bring those responsible to justice. We have found three people thus far that we believe are responsible."

The Chambers and Lee County Sheriff's Office, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Auburn Police Department and the Alabama State Fire Marshal's Office working collaboratively on the investigation led to the arrests.

"We also owe a debt of gratitude for the hard work of the local fire departments for their assistance," Paulk said.