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Posted: November 16, 2011 12:00 a.m.

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Covington man charged with arson

A Covington man was arrested last weekend and charged with setting fire to an Oxford woman’s house while she was away from home.

Craig Bailey Sr., 45, of Holmes Court, Covington, was arrested Saturday night and charged with first-degree arson. No one was injured in the blaze. David Harvey, chief of the Oxford Police Department, said the investigation was turned over to the Sheriff’s Office and the Newton County Fire Rescue Service.

According to the city police report, a neighbor saw Bailey and the woman leave the house together earlier in the evening, but Bailey returned in a blue 1996 Chevrolet Astro van at about 9:30 p.m. and tried to get into the residence through the front and garage doors.

After failing to get in, Bailey got into the van, parked it several doors away, and walked back to the residence, the neighbor told police. Bailey went around back and when he returned, smoke was coming from the house.

Newton County firefighters put out the blaze, which damaged a bedroom and the attic, according to fire Chief Mike Satterfield. The fire started on the bed.

Bailey returned to the house while Oxford Officer Chris Cass was taking notes and began arguing with the woman, according to the police report. After fire investigator Lt. Brad Stapp told Cass he believed the fire was intentionally set, Cass detained Bailey and transported him to the Newton County detention center. 

Sheriff’s investigators arrested Bailey after further questioning. Lt. Mark Mitchell, of the Sheriff’s Office, said there had been incidents between Bailey and the woman in the past, and Bailey had lived at the residence at one time. The woman told police he did not live with her at the time of the fire.

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