Charleston police arrest suspect in connection with James Island arson

September 15, 2017 GMT

Charleston police arrested a 19-year-old in connection with a James Island residential fire that was later found to be arson.

Sean Clay Kent, a resident of Honeysuckle Lane in an unincorporated pocket of James Island, faces one count of second-degree arson, according to an incident report and affidavit.

He was booked into the Al Cannon Detention Center at 10:53 p.m. Thursday and is being held on $400,000 bail, according to jail and court records.

Authorities responded at 5:57 a.m. on Aug. 1 to the fire at 1306 Mapleton Ave., the affidavit said. The residents, a husband and wife, were asleep when the fire started.

The husband awoke to flames rapidly spreading from the area of his rear screened patio, the affidavit said. He suffered first and second-degree burns as he ran out of the patio door while he tried to put out the blaze.

A red gas can was used to pour gasoline on the patio and along the rear and one side of the residence, the affidavit said. A Charleston Fire Department fire marshal investigator later confirmed the fire was caused by using gasoline as an accelerant.

On Aug. 24, a man told investigators that Davis was responsible for the fire, the affidavit said. The man said his son and Davis were close friends and that Davis told his son he set the fire.

The man also told investigators Davis admitted to setting the fire as a distraction for law enforcement “because he was caught breaking into vehicles,” the affidavit said.

A Charleston police detective tried to contact the man’s son but wasn’t successful.

On Sept. 14, a detective and a fire marshal investigator spoke to a man who was stopped following reports of auto and residential break-ins around 5:06 a.m. Aug. 1 in the Landsdowne neighborhood, located near the scene of the fire, the affidavit said.

The man told to the detective and investigator that he and Davis were caught while breaking into vehicles, that a person started chasing them with a truck and that he and Davis went separate ways, the affidavit said.

The detective and fire investigator also interviewed a woman on Sept. 14 who said she lived with Davis on two occasions, including 2-3 months around Aug. 1, the affidavit said. She told authorities she was awake for most of the night and early morning the day of the fire.

“At approximately sunrise time ... Mr. Davis came running inside through the rear residence door and was noticeably out of breath and panting,” the affidavit said. “Upon running into the residence, Mr. Davis told (her) that he had just set fire to a house.”

Davis also admitted to her that he used gasoline to set the fire, the affidavit said.