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Suspect caught after setting fire to neighbor's house for not mowing lawn

1:45 PM, May 17, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Feud between neighbors leads to arson investigation

Video: High grass leads to arson

  • Arson in Cartersville (Photo courtesy WBHF)
  • Phillip Roger Bennett (Cartersville PD)
  • Phillip Bennett
  • Arson in Cartersville (Photo courtesy WBHF)
    

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -- The Bartow County man accused of burning down a neighbor's house Wednesday morning has been captured.

Phillip Roger Bennett, 58, was taken into custody Thursday by U.S. Marshals in Murphy, N.C. He has since been returned to Georgia.

Cartersville Police Capt. Mark Camp said the suspect faces nearly a dozen charges, including arson, aggravated assault, criminal property damage, cruelty to children, second-degree burglary, reckless conduct, criminal trespass and terroristic threats.

Bennett suffered burns to his hands and arms during the incident and was admitted to the burn unit at Grady Memorial Hospital, where he would stay until Friday.

Camp said on Friday that Bennet would be taken from Grady to the Bartow County Jail that afternoon.

Police are also talking with the Bartow County District Attorney about whether Bennett can be charged with attempted murder.  They insist Bennett knew Corbitt and his 3-year-old daughter were inside the home when he allegedly set it on fire, frustrated the family had failed to mow their lawn.

"He kicks my door, tells me I've got five seconds to come outside. I turn around and call 911. And while I'm on the phone he comes back with two gas cans in his hand. He walks up to my kitchen door again, takes a gas can, smashes it against the glass, breaks the first pane," Corbitt told 11Alive News.

He continued, "Then he turns around and grabs a brick, throws it through the window. And then he grabs a gas can and starts pouring it into the kitchen. And as he's pouring he takes his lighter and lights it. And flames were everywhere. I ran back to my little girl's room, grabbed her, ran out the back door over to my neighbor's and watched the house burn."

"The mean man burned my house," said 3-year-old Kylie as Marty held her in his arms outside their burned shell of a house.

Court and prison records show Bennett has had a history of violence.  He served time for voluntary manslaughter, after killing someone in Cobb County. 

While in prison, Bennett was convicted of aggravated assault for attacking an inmate with a shovel, ripping off the man's nose.

Corbitt says he and his family have lived in the house, which belongs to his grandmother, for about four years.

Bennett moved into the neighborhood after his release from prison in 2010.  Corbitt says he helped him move in and was aware of his criminal background.

The Corbitts are staying with relatives.

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