A Mayflower man is now charged with a Class Y felony on suspicion of arson following an investigation of a December hotel fire.
According to a probable cause affidavit, the Conway Fire Department responded to a commercial structure fire at Continental Inn on Harkrider Street on Dec. 12. Conway officers on scene learned there was a domestic dispute at one of the blazing rooms earlier in the night and requested detectives with the Criminal Investigation Division look into foul play being the source of the flames.
As CFD worked to extinguish the flames, a woman showed up to the hotel concerned about her husband’s well being.
"While the fire was being put out [a woman] showed up on scene, she was visibly upset, she ran towards the fire and was concerned about her husband being inside of room 121," the affidavit reads.
According to the affidavit, authorities believe the fire originated from 121.
No one was located inside the room when authorities responded, the affidavit states.
"[The woman] said her and her husband, Carlton Hodge, had been heavily arguing so she left to stay at her parents’ house," the affidavit reads. "She advised her friend from Budget Inn called her and told her Continental Inn was on fire, so she came back to see if he was OK because he was not answering his cell phone. She stated that she was mad at her husband but did not want him to die."
Two tenants who were staying at the Continental Inn on Dec. 12 told authorities the woman approached them before the fire started asking "if they had anything to unlock a car with because she locked her keys in her car."
The two said they provided the woman with a hanger and a crow bar, noting she "smashed the passenger side rear window out of her car and then left," according to the affidavit.
The woman was questioned regarding the incident four days later at the Conway Police Department.
According to the affidavit, she told officers she and her husband went to stay at the Continental Inn because the two had nowhere else to go after Hodge was released from the hospital. The woman told police she and her husband were having car trouble and a man with Central Baptist Church helped them get into a room at the Continental Inn.
While at the hotel, Hodge became violent, the woman told police.
According to the affidavit, he choked her and hit her, loosening two of her teeth. The woman said she did not wish to press charges against Hodge regarding this incident because "he had never physically assaulted her in the past."
The woman told police her husband had only a cigarette lighter and "a pint of vodka," when asked if Hodge had anything with him on the night in question that could start a fire.
Hodge was later questioned regarding the incident on Jan. 19.
According to the affidavit, Hodge had no memory of the events that transpired Dec. 12, 2016.
"Hodge told me he did not remember the night of the fire; he said he woke up the next morning in an abandon[ed] trailer in Oak Wood Village trailer park wrapped up in a carpet," the affidavit reads.
Hodge said he had been drinking hard liquor that night and did not remember what had happened. He said he did not think he would set fire to the hotel.
"Hodge stated he had been drinking hard liquor and did not remember attacking [his wife] or the fire," the affidavit reads. "Hodge said he did not think he was suicidal and did not have any reason to put people’s lives in danger by starting the fire."
On Wednesday, a felony arson case was filed against Hodge in Faulkner County Circuit Court.
According to the affidavit, he is charged with arson on suspicion of setting fire to the Continental Inn in December, causing at least $100,000 in damages.
An arrest warrant was issued against Hodge on Wednesday. As of press time, he had not yet been arrested.