Arrests made in church fire, burglaries
by Elane Jones
Dec 20, 2012 | 5562 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Walker County Sheriff’s Office and the Alabama State Fire Marshall’s Office filed charges early Wednesday morning against two men who allegedly went on a drunken crime spree early Tuesday morning and left behind a trail of damage at two churches.

Matthew Dalton Elliott, 21, of Jasper, and Michael Ray Wilson, 18, of Jasper, have each been charged with third-degree burglary, third-degree theft of property, first-degree criminal mischief and second-degree arson in connection with the burglary and fire which occurred around 6:20 a.m. Tuesday at Jasper Alliance Church on Alabama Highway 5 North.

Elliott and Wilson have also been charged with first-degree criminal mischief, third-degree burglary, and third-degree theft of property in connection with the burglary and vandalism that occurred sometime early Tuesday at the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church on Duncan Road in Jasper.

Elliott and Wilson are currently being held in the Walker County Jail on seven separate cash bonds each, which come to a total of $150,000 per person.

The lead investigators on the two church cases, Walker County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Sgt. Tim Thomas and Alabama State Deputy Fire Marshal Phillip Freeman, said more charges may be pending.

“We are still working a third burglary that we know our suspects are connected to as well,” Thomas said. “More charges may be forthcoming in connection with that case.”

Freeman said the property that was taken during both of the church burglaries has also been recovered.

“We did recover all the property taken from the two churches, but at this point we don’t know the exact figure on the damage done at both churches,” Freeman said. “But I’m sure it will be way up there, because the damage was quite extensive at both locations.”

Thomas and Freeman said they would both like to thank everyone who was involved with the investigations, especially Walker County Sheriff Patrol Deputy Scott Drummond and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “We were on one scene when we learned of the second one. At first we thought they were separate crime scenes, but it wasn’t long before we determined they were in fact connected,” Thomas said. “Everyone did a really good job. The suspects are behind bars and most of the property has been recovered.”