Local News

Warrant: Raleigh man intentionally set fire that killed dog

Posted September 20, 2014

— A 51-year-old Raleigh man was charged early Saturday with intentionally killing a dog when he set fire to his house at 808 Beverly Drive.

Oscar Lee Spearman is charged with second-degree arson and felony cruelty to animals.

According to an arrest warrant, Spearman intentionally set fire to the home at about 8 p.m. Friday. A dog inside the residence died in the fire, and the interior of the single-story home was destroyed.

According to police, Keisha Spearman lived at the home but was not there when the fire started. Keisha Spearman and Oscar Spearman are brother and sister and had lived in the home for five years, said neighbor Clarice Hall, who added that she was the one who informed Keisha Spearman that the home was on fire.

"As I was coming over the speed bump, the car in front of me stopped in front of my driveway and that's when I realized the house was on fire," she said.

Hall ran into her home and contacted emergency operators.

Prior to seeing the burning home, Hall said she saw Oscar Spearman sitting on a nearby corner. 

"To see him sitting on the corner, that was fine," she said. "But then to come around the corner and see that the house was on fire, as that point it was like 'Wow, maybe he does know something.'"

Keisha Spearman said her brother has suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder his entire life. The siblings were moving out of the home when the fire was set, she said.

"If you know that he's sick, and this is the thing, when it comes to mental illness, a lot of people don't understand," Hall said. "But those who are impacted by mental illness, you just have to have the patience to deal with."

There's no indication Oscar Spearman tried to intentionally harm Keisha Spearman, police said.

Oscar Spearman was in the Wake County jail Saturday under a $75,000 secured bond.


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