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Newton County man faces arson charges after domestic dispute over eviction

COVINGTON — A Newton County man was arrested in conjunction with two small fires at his home after his estranged girlfriend alleged he was attempting to burn up her and her children.

Antron Lorenzo Buckhanan, 36, of 325 Long Creek Drive faces charges of aggravated assault, simple assault (Family Violence Act) and arson in the first degree.

Newton County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called to the Long Creek Drive address in reference to a domestic situation, according to NCSO Public Information Office Deputy Cortney Morrison.

“The complainant and her boyfriend were having issues as she had recently served him with eviction papers,” Morrison said. “She told deputies he was trying to set the house on fire with her and her children inside.”

The woman told deputies she and Buckhanan had been arguing over the eviction when he spilled his drink on his shirt, lit a cigarette and the shirt caught fire.

“Of course, he took the shirt off and threw it on the floor in the bedroom,” Morrison said. “The floor did get burned, but was not extensively damaged.”

Morrison said at that time, deputies found no evidence that what had happened was deliberate so they left.

“A few hours later they were called back out there because the complainant said he allegedly set fire to the deck while she and her children were sleeping,” Morrison said.

This time the woman said she awoke to smoke coming from the back deck during the predawn hours Tuesday.

“She also said during the night she heard him cooking and would get up periodically to see what he was doing,” Morrison said. “She said she got up more than once to turn the oven off as he had left it on and left the house.”

Buckhanan admitted the two had been arguing and he said he couldn’t sleep so between 4 and 4:45 a.m., he decided to cook his lunch for the next day. He baked cookies, a dish of ground turkey and a pound of chicken legs. He said he only left to go to the store. While he was cooking, he said the dish of ground turkey caught fire and he placed it on the back deck and placed a plastic bucket over it. The bucket melted to the deck and caused the smoke. There was no substantial damage to the deck.