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Woman accused of torching Hilliard-area motel room

Mary Jones
Mary Jones (Nassau County Sheriff's Office)

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – The state fire marshal has charged a woman with arson after she was accused of torching a Hilliard-area motel room last month.

Bail was set at $255,000 for Mary Christina Jones, 42, of Crawfordville, Florida, after she was charged with one count of arson and one count of possession of methamphetamine.

According to an arrest report obtained by News4Jax, Jones was inside Room 5 of the Holiday Terrace Motel on U.S. 1, just outside Hilliard city limits, on Feb. 13 when she used a propane torch to ignite clothing on the floor. An investigator noted in the report that the door to the room was deadbolted from inside the room and window slats on the back window had been removed to allow Jones to exit out that window.

The arrest report stated there were motel guests staying in two adjacent rooms, but it’s unclear if they were affected by the fire.

Investigators said they located Jones at a home in Callahan on Shaffer Road, off Old Dixie Highway, after speaking to people who knew her.

Mary Jones, who also goes by the name Grace Jones, was initially charged with arson, but moments after she arrived at the Nassau County jail, a deputy noticed a small bag, which contained a crystal-like substance, in the seat with Jones, according to the arrest report. The report shows the substance tested positive for methamphetamine, so Jones received an additional charge of narcotics possession. The report stated the camera inside his squad car was recording Jones during the drive to the jail, but details on how the drugs ended up next to her in the seat by the time the squad car arrived at the jail was redacted from the report.

While the arrest report did not specify the extent of the damages caused by the fire, it did say that Jones had only been in Nassau County for two days when she committed arson.

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