Former Hoke Sheriff's Son Charged in Fire at New Sheriff's Campaign Manager's House
Posted December 21, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST
RAEFORD — A strange sheriff's race in Hoke County got a little stranger Tuesday. The former sheriff's son was arrested.
Investigators say he tried to burn down the home of the man who led the political campaign against his father.
Greg Thompson successfully led the campaign of the new sheriff, Jim Davis. But in the process, there have been three attempts to burn down his home and one attempt on his car.
Now, authorities have arrested the former sheriff's son in one of those attempts.
Charles Robin Byrd was arrested late Tuesday afternoon and charged with one felony count of setting fire to an uninhabited home.
He is facing up to two years in prison if convicted.
"If he is guilty, then he needs to be punished. That's all I can say about that. I would hope that my son would never do anything like that, and I can't believe that he would," said former sheriff Wayne Byrd.
Investigators say Charles Byrd tried to set fire to the front and side porches of the home Thompson is renovating.
Police say if the patrolling officers had not seen the fires, Thompson's house could have gone up in flames.
"The police department was diligent in their patrol duties. Had it not been for that, we would have had a different situation," said Fred McKinney of the SBI.
Tracking dogs helped lead police to Byrd. Someone tried to set fire to the same house and Thompson's car about a week ago.
Investigators say Byrd is not a suspect in that case or the shooting of Thompson's brother's dental office.
Byrd is now out of jail on $5,000 bond. Thompson was unavailable for comment.
Sheriff Davis has been keeping a low profile, there has been no comment from him as well.