Officials close in on arson suspects
By By Lisa Tindell
State fire officials are investigating information on suspects believed to be involved in a case of arson in the McCullough Community.
The home of Ken Brewton, on Jack Springs Road, was completely destroyed in the blaze that was reported early on the morning of Sept. 12.
The home of Brewton, uncle of alleged victims in a child abuse case, was destroyed days before the case was scheduled to be heard in an Escambia County courtroom.
Terry Desmond Linam, 44, and his wife, Tracy Linam, 37, of 6045 Chapman Road in Atmore were both charged with three counts of aggravated child abuse, a Class B felony, and three counts of domestic violence, third degree, a Class A misdemeanor.
The case was continued and a judge recused himself from the case as a result of the alleged arson findings.
Joy Patterson, a spokesperson with Attorney General’s Office, which is handling the Linam case, said Wednesday morning that a second continuance of Terry Linam’s case scheduled for Monday in Brewton has been granted. The AG’s office did not have any more information regarding the continuance.
State Fire Marshal Ed Paulk said an investigation into the blaze that destroyed the home of Ken Brewton in the McCullough community is continuing.
Paulk said the fire was not an accident, but questions still need to be answered in the case.
Judge Bradley Byrne granted a continuance in the trial of Terry Desmond and Tracy Linam pending an investigation into an arson at the home of a prosecution witness. The continuance was granted Sept. 14. Byrne — who is presiding over the case after Judge Bert Rice recused himself Sept. 11 — granted the continuance after a motion by the state attorney general’s office, which is prosecuting the case.
According to court papers, the children alleged several acts of abuse, including that their father and stepmother shoved them and made them take medication to help them sleep.
Rice recused himself from the criminal case on Sept. 11, granting a prosecution motion that stated Rice’s actions in court could give the appearance of partiality.
In court papers, prosecutors had said that Rice stated in court there was “no basis” for the child abuse charges.
Charges of arson vary in degree with sentences of up to 10 years possible if convicted of the crime.
Publisher Adam Prestridge contributed to this story.