Lancaster, South Carolina April 13, 2017
Four people were arrested this week in connection with a fire that destroyed a vacant home at 1313 Cedar Pines Lake Road during the early morning hours of Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Firefighters and deputies of the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the home at about 2:15 a. m. and found the structure fully engulfed by fire. The home had been vacant for several months after the death of its owner. Her relatives, the current owners, were making repairs to the home to sell it. The home was insured. Criminal and crime scene investigators responded. Three “hot spots” were observed in different locations in the flooring of the home, suggesting fire started in those areas. Two containers of liquid which smelled of a petroleum product were recovered at the scene.
John Timothy (Tim) Barton, age 55, Dustin Lee (Dustin) Barton, age 29, Chasity Lynn (Chasity) Hughes, age 27, and Michael Anthony (Michael) Hughes, age 43, are charged in the case. All but Michael Hughes live in Lancaster. Michael Hughes is a Fort Lawn resident. Tim Barton is a son of the deceased homeowner and now owns an interest in the home. Dustin Barton is Tim’s son. Chasity Hughes is Dustin’s girlfriend. Michael Hughes is Chasity’s uncle. Investigators were told that Tim Barton offered Dustin Barton and Michael Hughes a portion of insurance proceeds if they would burn the home. Sometime in January or February of this year, Michael Hughes drove Dustin Barton to the home, and Dustin Barton entered the crawl space of the home and attempted to set the home on fire with a portable propane torch. Early on the morning of March 8 Chasity Hughes drove Dustin Barton back to the home, and he successfully set the home on fire. Dustin Barton is charged with two counts of Arson – Second Degree and one count of Burning Personal Property to Defraud an Insurer. Michael and Chasity Hughes are each charged with Accessory Before the Fact of Arson – Second Degree. Tim Barton is charged with Burning Personal Property to Defraud an Insurer and Conspiracy to Commit Arson – Second Degree. Dustin Barton and Chasity Hughes were arrested Tuesday. Tim Barton and Michael Hughes were arrested Wednesday. Photographs of the four are attached.
“A Chester County Sheriff’s Office investigator received information concerning this fire and passed it along to us,” said Sheriff Barry Faile. “He assisted our investigators in following up on the information, and we were able to arrest the four people responsible for the fire within a matter of days. I appreciate his help and the hard work of our investigators in solving this case.”
Anyone with information about this or any other case should call the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office at 803-283-3388 or Crimestoppers at 888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372) or email www.crimestopperssc.com.