Southeast Missouri man charged with setting three fires

Sunday, January 9, 2011

DONIPHAN, Mo. -- A Doniphan man made his first court appearance Wednesday on charges he burned three Ripley County homes in 2010. Joshua D. Paisley, 26, appeared before Associate Circuit Judge Thomas Swindle on three felony charges of second-degree arson. Swindle ordered Paisley, who is being held in the Doniphan City Jail on a $50,000 cash-only bond, to again appear at 9 a.m. Jan. 26 for an announcement in his case. Paisley, according to Ripley County Sheriff Ron Barnett, turned himself in Tuesday after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

The charges against Paisley stem from an investigation by the Ripley County Sheriff's Department and the State Fire Marshal's Office.

On Dec. 14, Jason Dunn, a state fire investigator, was requested to assist with a fire investigation at the Route 2, Doniphan, residence of Arlan Samons.

"Upon arrival, I observed a single-family residence that had been consumed by fire," Dunn said in his probable cause statement on file with the court. "The said structure was constructed of metal sheeting and metal stud framing."

The exterior examination, Dunn said, revealed extensive fire damage throughout the structure. The exterior walls on all sides had been consumed by fire, with debris falling to the interior and exterior, he said.

The roof of the structure, Dunn said, had collapsed to the interior.

Dunn said his interior examination of the remainder of the structure was limited due to the amount of damage.

"The interior walls had collapsed due to heavy heat and fire," Dunn explained.

Since the electrical service was not in service at the time of the fire, Dunn said, he was able to rule that out as a cause of the fire.

"The area of origin was unable to be determined due to the extensive amount of fire damage to the structure," Dunn said. "The fire cause in this case is listed as a criminal investigation due to the electrical service to the structure not in service."

Dunn said he spoke with owner Samons, who reported he was last at the structure on Dec. 11.

"Samons stated he had been working on finishing the structure due to it [being] under construction," Dunn explained. "I asked Samons if he had been having any problems with anyone, and he stated 'yes.'

"Samons stated he had been having problems with Josh Paisley. He stated Paisley had made several threats to him and to other people that he was going to 'burn' him out. Samons stated this had been going on for some time now."

On Dec. 28, Dunn said, he spoke with Megan McFall, who at the time was in the Butler County jail.

After being told of her rights, McFall, Dunn said, told him she had information on three separate fires that her husband, identified as Paisley, had been "involved with. McFall stated Paisley had set fire to [structures owned by] Brian McCollum, Jackson 'Sisco' White and Arlan Samons."

McFall, according to Dunn, provided specific information involving the McCollum residence, located at Route 1, Doniphan, which was "included in the fire report that was obtained from the Doniphan Fire Department." The fire reportedly occurred on April 14.

Dunn said McFall told him the fire was set in a "specific area of the structure and that she had dropped him off in the parking lot of the Barn, a local bar in Doniphan. McFall stated when Paisley left the vehicle, he was carrying a can of gasoline with him.

"When Paisley returned to the vehicle, he had fallen while running from the structure."

McFall told Dunn she took Paisley to Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center the following morning for treatment of injuries to his foot.

Dunn said McFall also provided information about a fire at White's Route 2, Doniphan, residence. The fire reportedly occurred on May 30.

"She stated that Paisley admitted not only once, but two times, to burning 'it' down to her," Dunn explained. "McFall stated Paisley had a friend, a male identified as 'Kevin,' drop him off down the road while he went and set the fire."

McFall further told Dunn that the night before the Samons residence burned, "they had been at the Barn. They returned home, and she went to sleep in her bedroom, but Josh did not come to bed the next morning.

"When she woke up, Josh had stated the Samons' place 'burnt' last night. She asked Paisley how he knew that and he stated because he took care of it."

Dunn said McFall reported when she subsequently went to put clothes in the washing machine, she found Paisley's clothes inside and detected an odor of gasoline.

"She asked him about the clothes, and that's when he told her what he had done."

As part of the investigation, Dunn said, he reviewed the fire reports from the respective departments and found there had been fires at corresponding locations and times "mentioned by McFall."

Pertinent address:

Doniphan, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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