Rougemont man charged with attempted murder, arson

Connie Huff Blanchard (Image courtesy Orange County Sheriff's Office)
December 19, 2013 10:49:23 AM PST
A man looks the worse for wear in his mug shot after he was arrested on attempted murder and arson charges.

The Durham County Sheriff's office says Connie Huff Blanchard, 65, was caught with a blowtorch allegedly trying to set a man's house on fire.

The homeowner, James Mangum, told deputies he smelled smoke at his home in the 11000 block of Wilkins Road in Bahama and went outside to check it out. That's when he said he found Blanchard with the torch.

The men struggled over the blowtorch and Blanchard ran off. Mangum stayed at the home to put out the fire and call 911.

Deputies later found Blanchard at his home on Bahama Road in Rougemont. They said he admitted to starting the blaze.

He was checked out by paramedics for the numerous injuries he received in the fight with Mangum - including two black eyes and facial swelling. Medics determined he did not need to be hospitalized and he was placed in the Durham County Jail on first-degree arson and first-degree attempted murder charges. Bond was set at $1 million.

Deputies said Mangum and Blanchard knew each other before the incident. The motive for the alleged arson was under investigation.

Mangum has not been charged with anything related to the fight.

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