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State: Suspects ID’d in arson

By By Lisa Tindell
news editor

State fire officials said they have suspects in the case of an alleged arson in the McCullough community.
The home of Ken Brewton on Jack Springs Road was completely destroyed in the blaze that was reported early on the morning of Sept. 12.
Brewton was a witness in a child abuse case involving his family members, and the case was delayed in the fall because of the fire. No one was home at the time of the fire.
The abuse case involves Terry Desmond Linam, 44, and his wife, Tracy Linam, 37, of 6045 Chapman Road in Atmore, who were both charged with three counts of aggravated child abuse, a Class B felony, and three counts of domestic violence, third degree, a Class A misdemeanor. Tracy Linam was a teacher at Rachel Patterson Elementary School.
The case was continued and a judge recused himself from the case as a result of the alleged arson findings. The case was scheduled to be heard again this week but was continued a second time.
State Fire Marshal Ed Paulk said an investigation into the blaze that destroyed the home of Ken Brewton is continuing. “We do have some suspects in the case and we are following up on that,” Paulk said. “We are working the case as hard as we can. We hope to clear it soon.”
Paulk said the fire was not an accident, but questions still need to be answered in the case. “An investigation into the fire did lead us to determine the fire was intentionally set,” Paulk said. “A criminal investigation is under way at this time.”
Judge Bradley Byrne granted a continuance in the trial of Terry Desmond and Tracy Linam pending an investigation into an arson at the home of a prosecution witness. The continuance was granted Sept. 14. Byrne — who is presiding over the case after Judge Bert Rice recused himself Sept. 11 — granted the continuance after a motion by the state attorney general’s office, which is prosecuting the case.
According to court papers, the children alleged several acts of abuse, including that their father and stepmother shoved them and made them take medication to help them sleep.
Rice recused himself from the criminal case on Sept. 11, granting a prosecution motion that stated Rice’s actions in court could give the appearance of partiality.
In court papers, prosecutors had said that Rice stated in court there was “no basis” for the child abuse charges.
Charges of arson vary in degree with sentences of up to 10 years possible if convicted of the crime.