LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — An Indiana man has been charged with attempted murder and first-degree arson in connection to a 2020 house fire that court records now say was intentionally set over an out-of-state custody battle.
43-year-old John W. Morrison of New Ross, Indiana was taken into custody on Feb. 27 after investigators with the Alabama State Fire Marshal’s Office issued a warrant for his arrest.
According to the deposition, Morrision intentionally set fire to a home on County Road 52 in Anderson, Alabama around 3 a.m. on August 27, 2020. Court records explained that samples of debris from the fire were forensically analyzed by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.
That debris showed the presence of “ignitable liquids residues containing gasoline,” court records said.
Agents received a tip in 2022 that Morrison was behind the fire, saying he doused the front porch with gasoline. That tip also claimed that Morrison’s intent was to kill those living in the home – including one who used to live in Indiana.
That individual and a relative of Morrison’s were said to be in the middle of a divorce and custody battle, court documents detailed.
Investigators also learned that Morrison had rented a cabin at Joe Wheeler State Park in Lauderdale County between August 24 – 27, 2020, resulting in what the deposition said was probable cause.
The Alabama State Fire Marshals Office, Rogersville Police Department, US Marshals Fugitive Task Force and the Columbus Indiana Police Department assisted in the arrest of Morrison in Columbus, Indiana.