Centerville man charged with arson of Jones County home of law enforcement officers

James Randal Spensley
James Randal Spensley

A Centerville man accused of setting fire to the home of two law officers last month was arrested Friday as he walked along a road in Bibb County.

James Randall Spensley, 55, was arrested by U.S. marshals for the Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force and Bibb sheriff’s deputies.

Spensley was charged with arson in connection with a July 27 fire at the home of a Jones County couple, both of whom work in law enforcement, said Jones County Sheriff Butch Reece. The husband, a Jones County sheriff’s deputy, is the assistant administrator of the jail. His wife is a Jasper County sheriff’s investigator.

Spensley allegedly was targeting the Jasper County sheriff’s investigator, who had arrested him in connection with a pending case, according to Reece.

Over the past few days, authorities had learned that Spensley was driving a pickup stolen out of Folkston, and law enforcement agencies were on the lookout across the state, Reece said.

The stolen, gray GMC Sierra was spotted by Bibb sheriff’s deputies abandoned on Lamar Road just south of Zebulon Road about 5:30 p.m., said Bibb County sheriff’s Lt. Sean DeFoe. Deputies contacted U.S. marshals.

Spensley was walking along Zebulon Road headed toward Interstate 475 when marshals and sheriff’s deputies caught up with him, DeFoe said.

Spensley was involved in a minor scuffle with arresting law officers, but it was not serious enough to warrant additional charges, DeFoe said. Spensley suffered a minor injury near his right eye during the scuffle, DeFoe said.

About 6 a.m. the Friday of the fire, a passing motorist noticed the flames and banged on the door of the couple’s home, Reece said.

The couple was shaken but unharmed.

Spensley was identified as the suspect from Walmart surveillance footage last week.

Additionally, Spensley has an outstanding warrant in Houston County on a stalking charge, Reece said.

Spensley was taken to the Jones County Sheriff’s Office, where he was booked on the arson charge Friday night. He was then taken back to the Bibb County jail, where he was being held without bond Saturday.