, Corbin, KY

Local News

March 19, 2014

W’burg man pleads not guilty to arson

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

Not guilty — that was the plea entered Monday during an arraignment hearing for a Williamsburg man facing first-degree arson.

Christopher Glenn Vanover, 37, entered that plea in front of Judge Paul Winchester in Whitley County Circuit Court, according to the circuit clerk’s office.

He was indicted in February for first-degree arson after an August fire that could have ended in tragedy.

Smells of gasoline alerted three children to a blaze on the front porch of their Whitley County home early Aug. 9 — averting any injuries to any of the four residents inside.

Sheriff Colan Harrell said that around 2 a.m that day, Whitley 911 Dispatch received a call concerning a fire at a home on KY 92E about one mile outside of Williamsburg.

Deputy Joe Prewitt responded and spoke to the homeowner, Beulah Lawson, Harrell said.

“Ms. Lawson was awakened by her grandson,” the sheriff explained. “(The grandson) was watching TV with two other (children) when they smelled gas.”

Harrell said when they looked outside, the porch was on fire.

“They said they saw Mr. Vanover running from it,” he said. “Luckily they smelled that gas and were able to put the fire out.”

Prewitt continued his investigation and “caught up” with Vanover — a neighbor to Lawson.

“He admitted to pouring the gas and lighting it,” Harrell said. “He said he got tired of the people aggravating him.”

Prewitt arrested Vanover, and he was jailed in the Whitley County Detention Center on a $150,000 cash bond — according to JailTracker records. He was released from the detention center on Nov. 7.

Those same records indicate Vanover has been jailed again at the detention center, this time facing both first-degree arson and third-degree terroristic threatening. He has been in the detention center since Feb. 25 and remains there on a $50,000 cash bond.

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