Arson fire leads to attempted murder arrest

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Michael Hicks

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. - A 27-year-old Middleburg man was arrested Monday morning on multiple counts of attempted murder related to arson at an occupied home overnight, according to the Clay County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said Michael Hicks was at a woman's home in the 100 block of Plankton Avenue in Middleburg about 7:30 p.m. Sunday. The woman, her two children and two friends with their child were also there.

Deputies said that after about an hour of drinking alcohol, Hicks became belligerent and got into an argument with someone.

He was told to leave and did, but then returned, punched through a locked screen door, and knocked on the front door hard enough to cause indentions, deputies said.

The woman and other adults told him again to leave, and he later returned at about 11 p.m., deputies said.

Everyone in the home except the woman's 17-year-old son went to bed, and at about 1 a.m. he saw smoke coming into the living room from the west end of the home, where the woman and her 9-year-old son were sleeping.

The family ran outside and saw the home on the fire, and the blaze was about five feet from two propane tanks. They put the fire out and saw Hicks standing about 20 feet from the home, deputies said.

He told them it was a good thing he was there to save them, but he had made no attempt to notify them of the fire, deputies said.

Investigators determined the fire was arson and found a gas can behind the home.

After being questioned, Hicks was arrested and booked into the Clay County jail.

He has a criminal history, which includes a prior arson arrest in 2004 and multiple other arrests for burglary, drug charges and assault.

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