Sunday, June 03, 2018

Suspect charged with arson after allegedly burning girlfriend's car at Carthage body shop surrenders to Jasper Police

A Jasper man who allegedly set fire to his girlfriend's car and two others at Grundy's Body Shop in Carthage May 23 surrendered to Jasper Police without incident Thursday.

Joseph E. Cochran, 37, is being held in the Jasper County Jail on $50,000 bond, cash or surety on one county of felony arson and three felony counts of knowingly burning or exploding.

According to a Jasper Police Department news release:

(A) person wanted for arson was taken into custody without incident at 222 East Morrisson St., Jasper, Missouri.

A Jasper officer received a tip that arson suspect Joseph Cochran was hiding out in the above residence. Jasper officers, Carthage PD Detectives, Jasper County Sheriff’s deputy and even help from Jasper city workers all were part in helping with the arrest.

Thank you to the Jasper City Works crew for assisting in this. After setting up to watch the house, backup was a ways away and the back needed to be watched due to Cochran being known to escape out the back window in previous incidents with law enforcement at the residence. A Jasper Officer flagged down the crew and asked them for assistance. They were very willing to help in this matter. Thank you again.

The probable cause statement detailed how Cochran was identified as the suspect:

Grundy's Body Shop video surveillance showed a white male dump a liquid accelerant on two of the vehicles, focusing on Jamey Smith's 2007 Ford Escape. The other vehicle, a 2015 Hyundai Elantra, is registered to a James Knight of Carthage.

The third vehicle is registered to Matthew Chambers of Carthage, 2014 Dodge Durango. These three vehicles estimated damages totaled $21,787.04. No estimate of damage to Grundy's Body Shop south wall has been presented to Carthage detectives.

The white male was identified as Joseph Eugene Cochran, Jamey Smith's boyfriend. Video surveillance showed at approximately 3:58 a.m., Cochran entered the property at Grundy's Body Shop, 140 S. Main. Cochran is then seen on video attempting to start a fire on Smith's front passenger tire of her Ford Escape at 4 a.m. Cochran turned and attempted to ignite a flame under the driver's side tire of the Hyundai Elantra. Cochran ignited a flfame and ran east out of camera view.

Several minutes later, Cochran's silver/grey Jeep Wrangler is seen westbound on Mound and making a U-turn to view the vehicles on fire from a northern position.

The fire burned out and the Jeep left the area. On 5/23/2018 at 5:07 a.m., Cochran is observed again on camera pouring a liquid accelerant, believed to be Red Die Diesel, over the hood of Smith's vehicle and on the hood of the Hyundai. Cochran ignited the accelerant and left running east bound, after dropping the gas can on the scene, with all three vehicles on fire.

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