By Patrick Yost
When six Morgan County Sheriff’s Office surrounded William Paden, Jr.’s VFW Lane residence on Nov. 8, 2017 they knew the man on parole for a host of drug charges, including distribution of methamphetamine, would not come easy.
Paden’s wife had, after two days of forced captivity and beatings she said, made it to the sheriff’s office and claimed the man had threatened to kill her and himself. She also said he had texted her after she left and said he would be “waiting for them” if officers arrived.
He was. Officers surrounded the house and using a public address system demanded Paden to come out. He refused. Instead, officers heard a loud boom come from the house followed by a fire in the front room. Reports state Paden then shattered a back window and tossed a bloodied cat out the window. He was secured though the window and both arms had been slit from wrist to elbow.
“I think he was laying a trap for the officers based on what we saw in the house,” Morgan County Sheriff Robert Markley said at the time.
Last week Paden was transported from state penitentiary and pled guilty on Morgan County Superior Court on one count of arson. At the time of the fire, a Morgan County Grand Jury indictment alleges, Paden’s wife and father were in the house at the time of the explosion. Paden was sentenced to 20 years, with 10 years to serve and the remainder to be served on probation. The sentence is to run concurrently with any other sentences against Paden.
On Jan. 5, 2015 Paden had pled guilty to one count possession of methamphetamine, one count possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, one count fleeing and attempting to elude a police officer. Those pleas came after Paden was arrested on May 23, 2014 following a months-long investigation into methamphetamine distribution in Morgan County by both the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office and Madison Police Department.
During that arrest, officers attempted to make a traffic stop on Paden on Greensboro Highway.
Reports state that Paden attempted to thwart a rolling roadblock by ramming one officer’s patrol vehicle. Paden was eventually stopped on VFW Lane, the road of his residence. After the stop, reports stated, officers located full plastic bags of methamphetamine and methamphetamine powder on the front seat of Paden’s vehicle. They also suspected he had eaten a large portion of the substance prior to the stop.
After Paden was booked in the Morgan County Detention Center he began convulsing and was rushed to what was then Morgan Memorial Hospital and was immediately transferred to Athens Regional Hospital were he was treated for a drug overdose.
Following Paden’s arrest officer’s secured a search warrant for Paden’s VFW Lane residence and found methamphetamine packaged for distribution and other drug paraphernalia.
On those charges Paden was sentenced to 20 years with 10 to serve on Jan. 5, 2015. On Oct. 6, 2017 he was released from prison on parole. Less than three weeks later he was arrested and charged with arson, false imprisonment and other charges related to the VFW Lane fire.