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September 11, 2013

Little Rock - Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas; and Grover Crossland, Resident Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) - Little Rock Field Office; announced that Douglas McArthur Adams, III, age 51, of Batesville, was indicted today by a federal grand jury on one count of malicious use of fire for attempting to destroy the Arkansas Department of Community Correction building in Batesville (DCC-Batesville).

"This senseless act now has Adams facing federal charges," stated Thyer. "Thankfully, the local law enforcement and fire department were cognizant of preservation of the crime scene in their response to the fire. Together with the Arkansas State Police and ATF investigators, the evidence was presented to my office resulting in our indictment today. Law enforcement officers, including probation officers, put their lives at risk every day to keep our streets safe. It is imperative that they know the full weight of the law is here to support them in their mission."

According to a search warrant issued in this case, Adams had been on release from state charges for possession of methamphetamine and violation of a protective order with a requirement that he report for drug testing. On June 6, 2013, he reported for a screening and presumptively tested positive for meth. A record was made of this screening and the sample was preserved for further analysis.

On June 10, 2013, at about 1:55 a.m., a motion detector in the DCC-Batesville office was triggered. Upon arrival at the DCC-Batesville office, Batesville Police Officers saw that the rear entrance glass door was broken and the building was on fire. The Batesville Fire Department was called and responded to extinguish the fire.

Evidence gathered at the scene indicated the fire appeared to have started in a room adjacent to the refrigerator used to store drug-testing urine samples. Investigators reported an accelerant such as gasoline had been poured on the floor. Surveillance video showed a white Ford truck with features similar to one Adams drives, slowly driving by the DCC-Batesville office at approximately 1:54 a.m. the morning of the fire.

On June 11, 2013, Adams was arrested on a revocation bond for testing positive for meth. Evidence collected at the time of Adams' arrest and additional evidence analyzed by the by the Arkansas State Crime Lab tied Adams to the crime scene resulting in this federal charge of arson. Adams remains in custody. The date for his initial appearance hasn't yet been set by the court.

If convicted, Adams faces a possible sentence of not more than 20 years incarceration and/or $250,000 fine with not more than 3 years of supervised release.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in conjunction with the Arkansas State Police, Independence County Sheriff's Office, Batesville Police Department, Batesville Fire Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mike Gordon.

An indictment contains only allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Christopher R. Thyer

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