Arrest made in car fire

Mary Jane Nolley

Mary Jane Nolley

COVINGTON -- The Newton County Fire Service has made an arson arrest in connection with a vehicle that was allegedly set on fire in September, according to Deputy Chief Tim Smith.

Mary Jane Nolley, 45, of 190 Willow Shoals Drive is facing five felony counts in connection with the Sept. 16 fire. She is charged with arson in the first degree, criminal damage to property in the second degree, insurance fraud, making false statements and false report of a crime.

"We did a forensic analysis of the ignition system and determined the car was driven under its own power to the location it was found and that could not have been done without a properly programmed key," Smith said.

Nolley had reported the vehicle stolen. Newton County Sheriff's Office deputies found the gutted vehicle on the dirt portion of Butler Bridge Road after the fire had already extinguished itself, Smith said.

"We found a gasoline can in the back passenger side and the car tested positive for gasoline," he said.

The vehicle was a 2006 Dodge Magnum and Smith said Nolley had filed for insurance reimbursement on the vehicle, claiming it had been stolen and set ablaze.

"Our evidence says this is not the case," Smith said, adding that no tipsters stepped forward to claim a reward in this case and solving it was due simply to "hard investigative work."

Smith said he is working on at least three other arsons, including a house fire, a car fire and the fire that was purposely started in front of an apartment door in an interior hallway on the afternoon of Jan. 4 at The Lofts in Porterdale.

Anyone with information about any of these incidents is asked to call 678-625-5050 or go to the NCFS Web site at www.newtoncountyfireaservice.org and leave information. Tips can be anonymous, but if a return call is desired, leave contact information.

Also, callers can contact the Georgia Arson Hotline at 1-800-282-5804. Rewards of up to $10,000 are given for information leading to the arrest and conviction of an arsonist. Calls are taken 24 hours a day.