Police have a first-degree arson warrant waiting for another person for the fatal house fire on East Broadway less than two weeks ago, detectives said Wednesday.
The warrant is for Brandon Guy, Kentucky State Police Detective Jeremy Hamm said during a preliminary hearing for the other arson suspect, 23-year-old Aaron W. Spencer of Winchester.
“We couldn’t find him,”¿Hamm said of Guy during Spencer’s hearing in Clark District Court. “We are actively looking for him.”
So far, no one has been charged with the death of Kenneth Payton Jr, 50.
During wide-ranging testimony that delved into the series of events on Oct. 21 at Payton’s home at 544 E. Broadway, detectives testified that Payton was assaulted prior to the fire that severely damaged the home.
KSP¿arson investigator Pat Alford said Payton’s long-time live-in girlfriend Pamela Cantor said all four had been drinking inside the home that evening. She also said there was a history of violence between her and Payton, he said.
“My understanding is there was a fight ... just prior to the fire being set,” Alford said.
In another interview, Cantor told Hamm that Guy, who is her son, and Spencer began the assault on Payton.
“Well, she indicated her son and his friend (Spencer) assaulted Mr. Payton to the point he was critically injured and unable to move,”¿Hamm said. “She said that ... she felt the argument started because of her.
“Based on the manner that was described to me was that he was struck a few times until he was lying on the floor and he was kicked a few times.”
Following the hearing, Hamm said the official cause of death has not been released and that he is still waiting on the final autopsy report. Several samples were taken from the home for analysis, he said.
Alford said there were multiple points of origin for the fire and that there was an accelerant used. The details of Cantor’s statements matched the locations of the fire, he said.
Spencer told detectives that he was in the home that night and early the next morning. He said he got into an argument with Guy and left to walk across town to his mother’s home. He said he saw Cantor pull a knife on Payton, but denied any involvement with the fire.
In a second interview with police, Spencer said he left when he saw Cantor try to stab Payton with a knife, Hamm said.
“He continued to deny being in any physical altercation or fight,” Hamm said.
Alford said a knife was not recovered at the scene.
Spencer’s mother Karen Spencer told police that her son was home at 2:30 a.m. and spent the night at her house. The fire was reported at 4:26 a.m.
“My son was at my house at 2:30 that morning,”¿she said after the hearing. “They’re railroading my son.”
After the testimony concluded, Clark District Judge Brandy Oliver Brown found enough probable cause to send the case to the grand jury. She also overruled a motion from Aaron Spencer’s attorney to reduce his bond. He remains in the Clark County Detention Center on a $100,000 cash bond.
Contact Fred Petke at email@example.com.