Arkansas woman arrested for arson and attempted murder

Arkansas woman arrested for arson and attempted murder

INDEPENDENCE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - The Independence County Sheriff's Department arrested a second person in connection to an arson back in January.

According to an affidavit, Melissa Fike, 44, is charged with attempted murder and arson.

In January, deputies arrested Bradley Hodge for setting four small fires to a home on the 700 block of Cleghorn Chapel Road.

A mother and three children were at the home but they all got out safe.

Deputies say three of the four burn spots were located under bedroom windows and the fourth was at the entrance to the home.

The victim told deputies Fike was harassing her for a long time because of the victim's boyfriend.

In early January, detectives interviewed Fike who stated she had been having an affair with the victim's boyfriend.

She also admitted to going to the victim’s house several times because it is on her paper route, but she denied any involvement in the fire.

Hodge admitted to setting fire to the home but he told deputies Fike was the one who asked him several times to "burn out" the victim.

Hodge told police he mixed several fire components in a pickle jar.

Hodge said he then poured this liquid form of the mixture into a Coke bottle and wrapped a piece of cedar wood around the bottle with duct tape. Hodge said he lit the wood pieces to start the fires.

Hodge told deputies on the night of the arson that Fike picked him up in a silver Ford Ranger and drove him to the victim's street where he walked through the woods to the home.

Hodge told deputies he lit the fire components and then walked back to the wooded area where Fike picked him up again.

According to the affidavit, Fike told deputies she knew Hodge committed the arson, but again denied any connection to the incident.

Detectives obtained a search warrant for Fike's Ford Ranger. During the search, they found a Dollar General bag containing the same components Hodge said he used to start the fires.

Surveillance video from Dollar General in Newark confirmed Fike was the one who purchased the items.

Hodge told police Fike brought the items to his home about forty minutes before they left together and he committed the arson.

The report stated Hodge told detectives on the ride to the victim's house Fike told him to "not make any mistakes."

During the interview, Hodge also told detectives Fike had several conversations with him before the incident saying she wanted the victim dead. Hodge said Fike told him to "just burn the place and then…she will be gone."

Hodge told deputies "she was just saying she wanted it…wanted her dead so that he boyfriend would concentrate on her instead."

Detectives obtained a court order for Fike's phone records, which showed she was in the area of the victim's home during the time of the arson.

Two other witnesses also confirmed to deputies Fike had told them she dropped Hodge off to set the house on fire.

Fike was given a $500,000 bond.

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