A Cartersville man remained hospitalized for severe burns Saturday after he allegedly set fire to his neighbor’s house while knowing the man and his 3-year-old daughter were inside.
Investigators said the incident, which happened Wednesday, stemmed from arguments the two had over the victim’s uncut grass.
Mr. Phillip Bennett turned himself in Thursday morning after nearly 20 hours on the run, according to Cartersville police.
The neighbor, Mr. Marion Corbitt, was watching television with his 3-year-old daughter when Mr. Bennett allegedly threw a large gas tank through the window, igniting it with a lighter, according to the police report.
Investigators said Mr. Bennett, 58, knew Mr. Corbitt and his daughter were inside the home at 18 Boatner Ave. when he set the blaze. And just minutes before, Mr. Bennett had allegedly threatened him before leaving and returning with two gas tanks and a brick, police said.
The man and his daughter escaped unharmed from the burning home, though Mr. Corbitt was hit in the leg by the brick that Mr. Bennett allegedly tossed through the window.
The suspect fled, but was apprehended around 11:30 a.m. in North Carolina by United States Marshals, police said.
He was transported back to Georgia and taken to the Cartersville police. But they were unable to take his fingerprint because of the severe burns on his hands, police said.
Mr. Bennett was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital because the burns were too severe to be treated at the Cartersville Medical Center, Capt. Camp said.
Mr. Bennett, previously convicted of voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault, was released in 2010 from Autry State Prison in Mitchell County, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Police said they had been called to Boatner Avenue before. On May 7, Mr. Corbitt called police alleging Mr. Bennett had slapped him twice without provocation.
Mr. Bennett, just as he allegedly did Wednesday, confronted Mr. Corbitt about his grass being too tall, according to a police report. Mr. Bennett confirmed they had an argument about the grass, but denied hitting Mr. Corbitt.
The responding officer found no evidence of assault and no charges were filed then.
But on Wednesday, Mr. Bennett was much more confrontational, threatening to kill his neighbor if he “called the cops on him again,” police said.
Bennett is charged with first degree arson, aggravated assault, first-and-second degree criminal damage to property, damaging public utilities, second-degree burglary, possession of tools for the commission of a crime, reckless conduct, criminal trespass and making terroristic threats.
Mr. Corbitt’s home suffered extensive damage, the AJC reported.
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