• December 25, 2014

Man accused of motel arson

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Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 4:30 am

Investigators filed charges against a 34-year-old man who allegedly set fire to a Killeen motel room in May.

Authorities leveled a charge of arson against Benjamin Haskell Copeland. Police arrested Copeland on Friday.

Another man was charged as well, but has not yet been arraigned. Killeen firefighters were called to the High Five Inn in the 600 block of South W.S. Young Drive on May 2 to a report of smoke coming from one of the rooms.

Firefighters approached the room and detected the odor of chlorine in the smoke, which led them to evacuate the motel, an arrest affidavit stated.

Investigators found several items in the room that were assembled in a way that they caused a “violent chemical reaction,” the affidavit stated.

They included chlorine tablets, brake fluid, starter fluid, aluminum foil and acetone. They had been placed in a carafe from a coffee maker, where the reaction occurred.

Police found identification cards to the other man charged with arson in connection to the incident. He later spoke to police, telling investigators a man he knew as “Big Zoe” Copeland assisted him in creating the chemical reaction in the room.

Police later tracked down a receipt at an auto parts store that showed a Benjamin Copeland buying identical amounts and brands of brake fluid and starter fluid from the store.

The owner of the motel told police he would need to replace the sink where the chemical reaction occurred and repaint many of the walls multiple times to remove the smell.

Justice of the Peace Bill Cooke arraigned Copeland and set his bail at $100,000.

Cooke also arraigned the following:

Amanda Michelle Little, 34, on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Little’s bail was set at $100,000.

Colin Wayne Chagnon, 32, on a charge of fraudulent possession of identifying information. Chagnon’s bail was set at $50,000.

Hope Rupez Patterson, 41, on a charge of fraudulent use of identifying information. Patterson’s bail was set at $20,000.

Amber Dawn Rogers, 21, on a charge of possession of a controlled substance, less than 1 gram. Rogers’ bail was set at $20,000.

Joseph Thomas Foster, 61, on a charge of possession of a controlled substance, less than 1 gram. Foster’s bail was set at $20,000.

Jessica Sadema Vullo, 42, on a charge of criminal mischief more than $1,500 but less than $20,000.

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