GARNER | A Garner man accused of felony arson allegedly threatened to burn his house down with people in it, court documents say.

Dontau Tahrel Smith, 43, was charged with first-degree arson in Hancock County District Court on April 14 after law enforcement were dispatched to the 400 block of West Fifth Street in Garner at 1:47 a.m.

According to the criminal complaint, a woman, who lived at the house with Smith and others, told sheriff’s deputies that she and Smith had gotten into an argument in which he made statements like “burning the house down” and “burning them while they sleep.”

The woman said she was upstairs when she smelled smoke. When she came out of the bedroom, she saw Smith had started a small paper fire at the bottom of the stairs, which she put out with shoes.

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Once law enforcement arrived, they noticed “black marks and ash” at the bottom of the stairs and smelled “a stronger odor of smoke in the stairway and upstairs,” the complaint states.

The deputy said in the complaint, Smith was arrested after law enforcement found him hiding under clothes in the basement. 

Smith is being held on a $25,000 cash or surety bond. He is scheduled to appear in Hancock County District Court May 15. 

-- Ashley Stewart

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Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.


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