Martin man facing four counts of arson

Martin man facing four counts of arson

A Monday evening structure fire last week has led to the arrest of one of the individuals who resided at the triplex in Martin.

Martin Fire Chief Russell Schwahn announced last week that 30-year-old Robert Watrud of 313 S. College St. in Martin has been charged with four counts of aggravated arson in connection with a structure fire that occurred at the multi-unit complex on Monday, Jan. 10.

Schwahn, along with MFD Lt. Todd Prince, Tennessee Bomb and Arson Special Inv. Ron Powers and Martin Police Inv. Tommy Erwin tied evidence reportedly found at the scene of the fire and evidence collected off-site to arson as the probable cause of the fire. Watrud is accused of intentionally setting the fire on Jan. 10 at the triplex, which housed four other people at the time including a 10-year-old child. Fortunately no one was injured during the Monday evening blaze.

In addition to the four charges of aggravated arson, Watrud faces another charge of theft of a vehicle.

According to an affidavit of complaint filed by Weakley County Sheriff’s Deputy Allen Walker, a friend had reportedly let Watrud borrow a vehicle that he failed to return to its owner.

Instead, Watrud allegedly set fire to the apartment complex before attempting to flee in the stolen vehicle armed with a small-caliber handgun.

Watrud was taken into custody early Thursday morning. He is charged with four counts of aggravated arson and one count of theft of a vehicle. He is being held at the Weakley County Detention Center. One count of aggravated arson is punishable by a 25-year maximum prison sentence if found guilty.

Both Schwahn and Prince are certified fire investigators through the International Association of Arson Investigators.

wcp 1/18/11

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