T.A. Dugger, Hampton students charged with arson attempt

By Kathy Helms-Hughes

   Two T.A. Dugger Junior High students and a Hampton Elementary School student have been charged with criminal intent to commit arson and other charges following investigation into an incident Saturday at Hampton Elementary School.
   Carter County Sheriff's Department Deputy Al Meehan received a call around 4 p.m. that three boys had entered the equipment building located behind the school and had scattered property within the building, poured gasoline on some of the football uniforms, then attempted to light a box, allegedly to burn the items and building.
   Upon seeing school employees, the two 12-year-olds and a 13-year-old fled on bicycles. They were apprehended by Deputy Meehan and admitted to being inside the building, according to the report.
   The juveniles were searched prior to being transported to the sheriff's department. One T.A. Dugger student was found to have a cigarette lighter and a roll of tape on his person which matched tape on the box found inside the building. The box also had a burned spot where an attempt was made to light it, according to a witness. The box, tape and some of the gasoline-soaked uniforms were taken to the sheriff's department, along with two of the youths' bicycles.
   In addition to being charged with intent to commit arson, the juveniles also were charged with vandalism of county property and aggravated criminal trespassing.
   They were released to the custody of their parents upon recommendation of Juvenile Officer Mike Woods after each was issued a summons.