The call for help came in just before 11 p.m. A woman returned to her home and found it ablaze Dec. 9, and she had information for authorities on who might be responsible: her estranged husband.
Terrell Bernard Howard remains in the Newton County Detention Center after allegedly trying to burn down the home of his soon-to-be ex-wife - where they both still lived - and causing the death of her dog.
Firefighters and investigators from the Newton County Sheriff's Office responded to the home and, according to arson investigator Lt. Brad Stapp, firefighters were able to tell fairly quickly that the fire was suspicious. After only an hour of investigating, Stapp was able to rule the fire arson.
NCSO investigators spoke with the victim who allegedly told them Howard and she had been in an argument earlier and, in the heat of the moment, he threatened to "burn the house down," according to Newton County Public Information Officer Cortney Morrison. After the fight the victim left and when she returned she found Howard standing outside at a neighbor's home and her house on fire. As she exited her vehicle she told investigators that Howard yelled "that's what you get!"
Morrison said the majority of the damage to the two-story home, which is valued at $90,700, according to the Newton County Tax Assessors website, was located in the living room area. Also found in the living room was the victim's Labrador, that had died as a result of the blaze.
Since there was evidence the fire was intentionally started, it took very little time for Howard to be charged with arson in the first degree. He was booked into the jail on Dec. 28 and remains there as of press time with a $10,000 bond. He could also face charges of animal cruelty, according to Morrison, in the death of the dog.