Local man charged with attempted murder, arson

A Russellville man was arrested Friday after authorities said he tried to burn down his neighbors’ home while there were eight people inside.

Jeffery Dewayne Baker, 50, East Lauderdale Street, Russellville, was arrested for eight counts of attempted murder and one count of first-degree arson, Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett said.

According to Hargett, the fire department received a call shortly before 10 p.m. Thursday stating there was a house on East Lauderdale Street that had been set on fire.

When authorities arrived on the scene, they discovered the fire had been extinguished but the victims told authorities their neighbor, later identified as Baker, had intentionally set the fire.

According to reports, Baker allegedly used the foam from inside a couch cushion to set the neighbors home on fire.

The neighbors noticed the flames and were able to extinguish the fire before the home was severely damaged.

After the accusations were made against Baker, Hargett said he was questioned and later taken into custody.

The Alabama State Fire Marshal’s Office assisted the Russellville Police Department and the Russellville Fire Department with the investigation.

According to the state fire marshal’s office, the fire was determined to be intentionally set.

Because there were eight people in the home at the time the fire was allegedly set, including four children, Hargett said Baker was charged with eight separate counts of attempted murder in addition to the arson charge.

Baker is currently in custody at the Franklin County Jail on a $750,000 bond.