Man who set house on fire with people inside sentenced to 11 years

Jeff Bobo • Jun 26, 2013 at 8:37 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Michael Shane Smith told police he set his home on fire with three adults inside on March 11, 2011, because he was angry about meth being cooked around a 3-year-old child who lived there.

Smith, 25, also admitted that he was participating in the manufacture of meth at the residence located on 225 Walnut Grove Road off of Carters Valley Road near Church Hill.

On Wednesday, Smith was sentenced by Judge John Dugger to 11 years in prison in connection with the arson and the meth manufacturing. He had faced a possible 25-year sentence.

On March 11, 2011, firefighters from Carters Valley Volunteer Fire Department were dispatched to the blaze at 205 Walnut Grove Road.

Four people, including Smith, escaped from the house uninjured after the fire started.

Initially firefighters received a report that someone was trapped inside, and a rescue attempt was made. One fireman suffered minor injuries when he fell through the floor, but it turned out that there wasn’t anyone trapped inside.

Upon entering the basement, firefighters observed several items that they recognized to be associated with meth manufacturing, at which time the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office was called.

Smith’s father, his father’s girlfriend and a visitor were arrested on meth charges. The 3-year-old belonged to the girlfriend and wasn’t home at the time of the fire.

Smith, who was wanted for a probation violation at the time, fled from the residence after police were called and was arrested later.

Carters Valley VFD Chief Mike Yates found the fire to be suspicious because it appeared to have started in both the basement and second floor simultaneously.

After the fire was extinguished, firefighters found a third area on the ground floor where it appeared that a fire had been started but went out.

Smith admitted to lighting a rag and throwing it into a pile of papers in the basement, as well as throwing a lit cigarette into an upstairs trash can.

Smith told the HCSO that he was upset about the others manufacturing meth in the presence of the child, even though he was an active participant in that activity.

Originally charged with the Class A felony aggravated arson, on Wednesday he pleaded to the reduced charge of attempted aggravated arson, as well as one count of promoting the manufacture of meth.

He was fined $2,500 and will be eligible for parole after serving 30 percent of his sentence.

The other meth defendants arrested after the fire were sentenced to prison as well.

Other guilty pleas heard Wednesday by Dugger included:

•Dustin Cody Moxley, 21, Gloverville, S.C., who was sentenced to 11 years with a 45 percent release eligibility and fined $500 for robbery.

•Eric Lynn Ewing, 24, 709 E. Unaka Ave., Johnson City, who was sentenced to three years and ordered to pay $300 in restitution for two counts of facilitation of aggravated robbery, and two counts of facilitation of aggravated kidnapping.

•Miranda Nicole McLean, 21, 276 Hickory Hill Road, Church Hill, who was sentenced to four years and fined $4,725 for facilitation to initiate the process of manufacturing meth, facilitation to possess meth with intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a dwelling where drugs are used.

•Deborah Ann Hall, 46, 501 Bynum St., Rogersville, who was sentenced to three years and fined $2,235 for possession of Schedule III narcotics with intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia, and seat belt violation.

•Robin Denise Boggs, 39, 2313 Bowlin Drive, Rogersville, who was sentenced to two years and one day and fined $2,000 for promotion of manufacturing meth.

•Johnny Eugene Day, 19, no address available, who was sentenced to two years and one day and fined $450 for burglary, theft over $500 and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

•Stephanie Denise Bateman, 35, 131 Dogwood Lane, Lot 2, Whitesburg, who was sentenced to one year, fined $900, and ordered to pay a total of $3,362.82 in restitution for nine counts of forgery.

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