UPDATE (July 13, 2022, 9:33 a.m.) – A third male-juvenile suspect was charged with Arson and Conspiracy. The male juvenile is also being held in juvenile detention facility.
The investigation is considered complete.
ORIGINAL (July 12, 2022, 12:30 p.m.) SHADY SPRING, WV (WVNS) — Two men are facing felony charges for their involvement in a church burning.
On the morning of Sunday, June 26, 2022 at 10:26 A.M., Trooper D.L. Daniels was called to a reported structure fire at 2136 Irish Mountain Road, in Shady Spring, West Virginia.
Once on scene, he was advised by the Beaver Volunteer Fire Department that the structure that was burned down was the Saint Colman Catholic Church. The church had been completely burned to the ground. Upon further investigation, it was discovered the church was burned the night before, but no one reported it to emergency services.
Lieutenant Jason Redden of the Raleigh County Sheriffs Office and a member of the Beaver Volunteer Fire Department decided the cause of the fire.
Upon arrival, a K-9 unit responded to some type of accelerant from the fire. After a extensive search, the Trooper collected samples for evidence, which included a can of beer on the perimeter of the building, and an empty case of beer, about a mile up the road from the church.
A frequent of the church and caretaker of the property, Mr. William Humphrey said that the church had no type of power or electricity running in it around the hour of 10:00 A.M. that same day, but he did receive a call from the neighbor that the church had burned down, and immediately called 911.
A couple days later, on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, Trooper D.L. Daniels received an anonymous tip stating there was a party at the church and one of the boys there had set the church on fire. The following day, the trooper made contact with one of the suspects, Mr. James Dean Elmore, of Beckley, who was there at 11 P.M. the night of the party.
According to statement gathered from Elmore, the other suspect, Mr. Braxton Allan Miller, of Charleston, had taken plastic flowers, put them in the middle of the church and set them on fire with a pew on top, then left the scene. Videos of the crime were shown to the trooper as well.
Upon further investigation, both Mr. Miller, and Mr. Elmore did both act together while purposely setting the church on fire.
James Dean Elmore was charged with Felony Conspiracy and Accessory After the Fact. Braxton Allan Miller was also charged with Arson.