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Samples from burned house in Bibb sent to GBI

There were multiple points of origin to a fire that burned the home of a Bibb County murder suspect early Saturday, fire officials said.

As a result, firefighters have sent samples of the burned house to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to test for the presence of an accelerant, Fire Chief Marvin Riggins said Monday.

Firefighters were called to 62-year-old Clarence Stewart’s home at 3571 Mogul Road just after 2 a.m. Saturday, just hours after Ernest James III, 19, died at The Medical Center of Central Georgia.

Stewart is charged with shooting James in the head during an argument about trespassing on Stewart’s property about 2:12 p.m. Friday.

James died about 9:30 p.m. Friday.

Riggins said the fire had penetrated Stewart’s roof by the time firefighters responded early Saturday.

Their response time was about five minutes.

The fire department has not named a suspect or officially characterized the fire as an arson.

“We are interviewing people and talking to people to see if there is a primary person,” Riggins said.

The single-story wooden house sustained “heavy fire damage” and is not livable, he said.

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office at 746-9441, Macon Regional CrimeStoppers at (877) 68-CRIME or the Georgia Arson Hotline at (800) 282-5804.

The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office referred comment about the fire to the fire department.

Deputies have said Stewart shot James in the front yard of one of Stewart’s neighbors.

Stewart is charged with murder and aggravated assault.

He is being held at the Bibb County jail without bond.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.

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