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Heath M. Macon, 36, of El Dorado was convicted of arson last week after agreeing to a plea deal lessening his potential sentence.

Macon was charged with arson causing damages between $5,000 and $15,000. He faced between five and 20 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.

According to court documents, last August, Union County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a house fire on Elmcrest Lane. Macon was on scene when a deputy arrived.

Shortly after the deputy’s arrival, a vehicle with two women came to the residence as well, immediately identifying Macon as the one who started the fire. Macon began to argue back; the deputy attempted to break the argument up, but Macon did not comply with requests to stop yelling, so he was arrested for disorderly conduct.

The deputy spoke with the women, one of whom was Macon’s wife. She told the deputy that she’d been staying with her parents on Magnolia Highway after an argument with Macon. She said he’d texted her throughout the night saying she would regret leaving him before calling her to tell her the house was on fire.

A Parkers Chapel Fire Chief told the deputy the fire seemed suspicious. A Union County Sheriff’s detective then came to investigate, coming to the same conclusion.

The detective noted that a pile of clothing in the middle of the floor of the home’s bedroom was much more charred than the walls or other items in the room, indicating that was the point of the fire’s origin.

He also noted that there were burn marks on the floor around the pile of clothes, suggesting that some type of accelerant had been poured on or around the pile. The fire was isolated to the bedroom for the most part.

During an interview with police, Macon’s wife said they’d been living at the burned residence, which belonged to the second woman, for about a month. She told police Macon has previously been at rehab, but after contracting shingles, had returned home. She said they’d argued frequently since his return.

On April 2, Macon made a plea agreement which prevented his going to prison. Macon pleaded guilty to arson and was sentenced to 10 years suspended imposition of sentence (SIS) and ordered to pay court costs and restitution.

Macon must pay the owner of the home $16,190. He owes $420 in court costs and fees.

SIS is similar to probation, though if Macon re-offends, he could face harsher punishment than probationers, such as immediate incarceration. Conditions of Macon’s SIS include staying away from drugs and other felons, following the law and refraining from owning a gun.

Caitlan Butler can be reached at 870-862-6611 or cbutler@eldoradonews.com.

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