Suspicious fire at Harris County church leads to two arrests - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Suspicious fire at Harris County church leads to two arrests

37-year-old Larry Hutto Jr. (on the left) and 19-year-old Cody Watson (on the right) were arrested Wednesday and charged with arson in the first-degree and burglary. 37-year-old Larry Hutto Jr. (on the left) and 19-year-old Cody Watson (on the right) were arrested Wednesday and charged with arson in the first-degree and burglary.
HARRIS COUNTY, GA (WTVM) -

Two men are in custody facing charges for allegedly setting a church in Harris County.

Burned pews, smoke damage, and even a charred Bible are the remains as Harris County Sheriff's deputies say someone set a fire inside Rehobeth Baptist Church off Preston Road in Cataula Tuesday night.

"We didn't know what to expect and whether the whole building was ablaze or what so we just kind of came up here as fast as we could," said Reverend Charles Graddick.

Graddick says the fire comes just one week before they celebrated the 125th anniversary of the church's founding. He is grateful there was not more damage and even more thankful Harris County Sheriff's deputies already have two men in custody.

"By the way the fire was set up the fire department, Cataula Volunteer Fire Department, and one of my investigators, who is an arson trained investigator, determined that it was an intentionally set fire," said Harris County Sheriff Mike Jolley.

Jolley says 37-year-old Larry Hutto Jr. of Cataula and 19-year-old Cody Watson were arrested Wednesday and charged with arson in the first-degree and burglary.

"Some evidentiary items were found that showed that they had been at the church. Some things from their home, beer cans of the same brand and lot number, were found at the church area," said Jolley.

Jolley says they believe burglary was a motive in this case. He says they are also investigating the possibility of this being a racially motivated crime since the church is predominantly black and the suspects are two white men.

Graddick says he cannot imagine why anyone would do this.

"I don't know what their intentions were, but they didn't stop anything. We are going on and moving on forward," said Graddick.

The Reverend says about 70 people attend the church.

He says they will not be able to have service in the church for about three to four weeks, but they probably will have service in the fellowship hall of Friendship Baptist Church in Hamilton on Sunday.

Graddick says the suspects are not members of the congregation.

Copyright 2012 WTVM. All rights reserved.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 'The Phantom' serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson

    'The Phantom' serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson

    Thursday, April 27 2017 12:17 AM EDT2017-04-27 04:17:43 GMT
    Friday, April 28 2017 11:32 PM EDT2017-04-29 03:32:02 GMT
    Convicted killer William Huff was spotted riding his bicycle through a Tucson neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Convicted killer William Huff was spotted riding his bicycle through a Tucson neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    William Huff terrorized Sierra Vista during the spring and summer of 1967. Despite a sentence of 40 years to life, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted to release him from prison into home arrest. Family members of the victims are concerned for the safety of the community, as are new members of the Clemency Board. CBS 5 Investigates videotaped Huff riding a bike through his Tucson neighborhood. There are no restrictions placed on his proximity to children.

    More >>

    William Huff terrorized Sierra Vista during the spring and summer of 1967. Despite a sentence of 40 years to life, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted to release him from prison into home arrest. Family members of the victims are concerned for the safety of the community, as are new members of the Clemency Board. CBS 5 Investigates videotaped Huff riding a bike through his Tucson neighborhood. There are no restrictions placed on his proximity to children. 

    More >>
  • Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

    Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

        One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction.  She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    More >>

    One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction. She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    More >>
  • Homeless man gets makeover from big-hearted cops

    Homeless man gets makeover from big-hearted cops

    Tuesday, April 25 2017 2:44 PM EDT2017-04-25 18:44:10 GMT
    Tuesday, April 25 2017 3:49 PM EDT2017-04-25 19:49:50 GMT

    Police officers in Rome, NY, went the extra mile to give back to their community, helping one in need.

    More >>

    Police officers in Rome, NY, went the extra mile to give back to their community, helping one in need.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly