Kannapolis man gets more than 5 years for arson as habitual felon

  • Posted: Friday, September 27, 2013 1:16 a.m.

Thomas Ray Campbell was sentenced to at least 5 1/2 years in prison for arson and being a habitual felon Thursday in Rowan County Superior Court.

Campbell was convicted of second degree arson and Judge A. Robinson Hassell sentenced him to a maximum of nearly 7 1/2 years in prison, according to a news release.

On Oct. 28, 2010, officers with the Kannapolis Police Department had responded to a structure fire at 1006 East 10th St. A melted red plastic gas can was found near the front porch and a black plastic spout was located near the gas can with an odor of gasoline.

The homeowner was not in the home when the fire started; however, she stated that the day before, Campbell had come into her driveway on a bicycle and was drunk. The homeowner said she did not know Campbell and told him to leave. Later, she noticed some items had been moved from her yard and she became frightened and left.

Witnesses told officers that Campbell had said he was going to burn down every residence in the neighborhood and that it was a good day to burn something. Another witness said he noticed the fire shortly after seeing Campbell walking toward another nearby house. He said Campbell was the only person outside at the time. Officers located Campbell, who denied setting the fire. He said he did set fire to leaves in the road.

Campbell was previously convicted of felony breaking and/or entering, felony uttering a forged instrument and felony possession of a controlled substance in prison/jail.

Rowan County District Attorney Brandy Cook said if her office had not prosecuted Campbell as a habitual felon, he could have received as little as 15-18 months in prison. Cook said in the news release she “appreciated the joint effort on the part of Assistant District Attorney Thomas King and the Kannapolis Police Department in removing another repeat offender from our community.”

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