2 ar­rests made in Cra­ton Road arson case

Fire com­pletely de­stroyed the 5,900 square-foot brick home which could be seen from Rockmart High­way.

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - By John Bai­ley JBai­[email protected]

Two peo­ple were ar­rested on charges they set a Feb. 10 fire which com­pletely de­stroyed a large white-columned brick home on 11 Cra­ton Road in what in­ves­ti­ga­tors de­scribed as one of the largest cases of arson in Floyd County.

Stan­ley Ed­ward Stephens, 68, for­merly of 11 Cra­ton Road, was ar­rested in Florida near Day­tona Beach on Wed­nes­day night. Don­ald Eric Luallen, 59, of a Polk County ad­dress, was ar­rested in Ox­ford, Alabama on Mon­day.

In a press con­fer­ence on April 18, Fire Mar­shal Mary Cather­ine Chewn­ing said she did not know the ex­act re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two men and de­clined to iden­tify a sus­pected mo­tive in the case. They are both charged with first-de­gree arson.

Ac­cord­ing to tax records Stephens owned the home, some­times in vary­ing names, since 2000 un­til it was fore­closed upon by Re­gions Bank in Jan­uary 2019.

At the time of the fire the home was owned by the bank.

The 5,900 square foot home, val­ued at $500,000, was burned to the ground. Chewn­ing said they found ac­cel­er­ant in the home in what ap­peared to be sev­eral places.

“We have rea­son to be­lieve mul­ti­ple fires were set within the struc­ture,” Chewn­ing said.

“At this time we es­ti­mate ap­prox­i­mately $2.5 mil­lion dol­lars are in­volved in this case,” Chewn­ing said. That fig­ure in­cludes the value of the home as well as ex­penses and man hours in­volved in this in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors in mul­ti­ple agen­cies spent more than 300 hours and trav­eled ap­prox­i­mately 1,000 miles in this in­ves­ti­ga­tion. She thanked the Floyd County Po­lice Depart­ment, Floyd County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, Floyd County District At­tor­ney’s of­fice, as well as mul­ti­ple po­lice de­part­ments and agen­cies in Alabama and Florida.

“Arson is a crime,” Chewn­ing said. “The Rome Fire Depart­ment is a proac­tive depart­ment tak­ing new steps to com­bat this crime. I am the first man­dated peace of­fi­cer here at the fire depart­ment.”

Chewn­ing pre­vi­ously served in the Floyd County Po­lice Depart­ment.

“This is one of the largest arson cases in Floyd County,” she said. They’re ex­pect­ing more charges to be filed in the case, how­ever she de­clined to spec­u­late as to whether or not any ad­di­tional sus­pects may have been in­volved.

diane Wag­ner, file

This photo taken early on Feb. 10 shows the to­tal de­struc­tion done to a large white-columned man­sion at 11 Cra­ton Road, off Rockmart Road, in Sil­ver Creek.

Stan­ley Ed­ward Stephens

Don­ald Eric Luallen

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