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3 charged in blaze that destroyed jailed couple's home

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Three people were arrested Friday in connection with a blaze that destroyed an incarcerated Jackson County couple's home early Thursday.

Christopher Michael Hill, 32; Colena Kay Martin, 50; and her son, Daniel Martin, 34, were charged with first-degree arson. Hill and Colena Martin were arrested Friday morning, and Daniel Martin was arrested Friday afternoon.

Jackson County Sheriff Tony Boggs said firefighters responded to a blaze at the home of Peter and Stephanie Lizon in Leroy just after midnight Thursday. Investigators from the state Fire Marshal's Office determined that someone used an accelerant, Boggs said.

The sheriff said evidence found at Colena Martin's home led police to arrest her in connection to the blaze.

The Lizons are in jail because they were arrested earlier this week after allegedly taking their child from the boy's grandparents, who are his legal guardians. Police said Stephanie Lizon took the 2-year-old away from her parents and that Peter Lizon lied to cover it up. The Lizons were still being held in the South Central Regional Jail on Friday.

In July 2012, police accused Peter Lizon of shackling and abusing Stephanie Lizon for more than a decade. Stephanie Lizon denied the allegations and testified on her husband's behalf when police charged him with malicious wounding. Peter Lizon has a bond-revocation hearing Monday morning in Jackson County Magistrate Court.

Mike Hissam, the Lizons' attorney, said Friday that Colena Martin agreed to watch over the Lizons' farm while they were in jail. Martin had taken care of the Lizons' animals in the past, Hissam said.

The lawyer said his clients' home was burglarized several times in recent years, and again before it burned down.

"It's extremely unfortunate that Peter and Stephanie Lizon have had the home that they worked hard to build in Jackson County destroyed under these circumstances," Hissam said in a prepared statement. "They have done nothing but try to live peacefully as a loving family and good neighbors. Now, for the third time in recent years, they have been the victims of senseless crimes against their property."

Hissam said that, in 2009, someone shot a hole through a dead-end sign in front of the Lizons' home.

Someone also posted a sign on the Lizons' fence that read, "Go back to the motherland you Communist bastard" and included other expletives aimed at Peter Lizon, a native of the Czech Republic, Hissam said.

Lizon filed a report with the West Virginia State Police but no one was arrested in the case, Hissam said.

All three suspects were being held Friday night in the South Central Regional Jail on $200,000 bail each.

Reach Travis Crum at travis.crum@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.


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