By Patrick Yost
A Morgan County Grand Jury Monday returned criminal indictments against two men charged in connection with the burning of five cabins on a Morgan County farm.
According to Morgan County Superior Court documents, Carl Marin Johnson, 25, was indicted on two counts burglary in the first degree, one count arson in the first degree and one count criminal damage to property in the second degree.
The same grand jury also indicted a co-conspirator Maynard Moses Ray, 29, on two counts burglary, one count arson in the first degree, one count criminal damage to property in the second degree, one count cruelty to children in the first degree and one count cruelty to children in the second degree.
Both men were arrested on Jan. 7 after they allegedly burned five cabins on a Morgan County estate that fronts Bethany Road. Following the men’s arrest, three children, one near death from malnutrition authorities said, were taken from an RV the men and two women were sharing at Country Boy’s RV Park off Eatonton Road. One of the women faced a count of cruelty to children in the second degree but the grand jury returned a no bill against the charge.
The five cabins were part of a seven cabin complex positioned near a creek. The creek also runs past Country Boy’s RV Park, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Keith Howard said at the time of the arrest. investigators were able to follow footprints from the burned cabin back to the trailer park, he said.
Warrants allege that following a search warrant at the RV, investigators located two black hatchets matching a similar hatchet found at the scene of the arson. They also located charred kindling, matching kindling found at the burned cabins, warrants allege.
Following the execution of the search warrants at the RV, deputies observed three children, aged 5 months, 7 months and 21 months that appeared “malnourished,” Howard said. The 21 month old child was taken to Scottish Rite and a warrant alleges that authorities were told without medical care the child would not have lived another week.
Warrants also allege that Ray “did restrict food from a 21 month old..” and did deliver “unlawful physical abuse against the child for sneaking food.”
Warrants also allege that ammunition and bottle of rum taken from the cabin site was also found at the RV.