Arrest made in Dodge County killing and arson

Authorities in Dodge County arrested an Eastman man Wednesday in the killing of a man found dead in a house fire late last month.

James Franklin English of Cottondale Avenue is accused of malice murder and first degree arson in the death of 49-year-old Ricky Edward Payne whose body was discovered inside the burning living room of a neighor's house on Leitch Street on April 25, said Greg Harvey, special agent in charge of the Eastman office of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

A tip to the Georgia Arson Hotline helped lead to the arrest in the death of Payne, who died of blunt force trauma according to the autopsy, Harvey said.

"They got into an argument. It escalated and it got bad and resulted in tragedy," Harvey said.

Harvey credited the Dodge County Sheriff's Office, Georgia State Patrol and State Fire Marshals Office with working together to solve the case.

"There was a lot of good cooperation to bring this case to a successful conclusion," Harvey said.