Hancock County Man Acquitted Of Arson Charges

A federal jury Thursday acquitted a Hancock County man of arson charges. Malon Dawsey, 61, was accused of conspiracy to commit arson in two fires that targeted a sheriff's deputy.

A fire in December 2003 destroyed the Cuevas Grocery Store on Highway 604. The store was owned by Hancock County Sheriff's Chief Administrator Ronnie Cuevas and his family.

Three weeks later, a fire at Cuevas' home just down the street damaged the roof. No one was hurt in the fires.

After three days of testimony, jurors took only two hours to find Dawsey 'not guilty' in the arson cases. He was also acquitted of another charge involving the theft of a sheriff's department truck.

Earlier this month, two others charged in this case, pleaded guilty. Sheriff's investigators say they now plan to pursue state charges against all three.