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Man accused of setting trailer fire

Oct 09, 2013 -- 10:29am

Daily American Republic

A Poplar Bluff man is in the Butler County Jail after allegedly setting fire to a trailer with four people inside. 34-year old Christopher Durance Willis thought the occupants of the home were conspiring to kill him. Willis is being held on charges of first-degree arson, a felony that carries the same sentencing range as attempted murder. Butler County Sheriff's Department investigator Mike Elliott said no one was injured. Willis is accused of using diesel fuel to set fire to a rug and blanket that hung over a hallway door separating the living room and back portion of the trailer on County Road 553. The incident occurred about 8:10 a.m. at the home of David R. Roberts, who was asleep in the living room with two other occupants, Todd Woodham and Joseph Glass. Willis' girlfriend, Brandy Speer, was in a bedroom at the back of the trailer. The occupants worked to put out the fire until Butler County firefighters arrived and extinguished the blaze. The trailer had fire and smoke damage. Willis has an extensive criminal history, with violence involved, as well as drug use and domestic violence. A fire marshal also is investigating.

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