Man charged with arson in Molotov cocktail fire on Valentine's

Man charged with arson in Molotov cocktail fire at Hamblen County home

Dennis Laskey (source: Hamblen County Sheriff's Office) Dennis Laskey (source: Hamblen County Sheriff's Office)
Ryan Bellew (source: Hamblen County Sheriff's Office) Ryan Bellew (source: Hamblen County Sheriff's Office)

MORRISTOWN (WATE) - A Bean Station man was arrested for setting his ex-wife's house on fire with a Molotov cocktail on Valentine's Day.

The Hamblen County Sheriff's Office says Dennis Wayne Laskey, 48, is charged with two counts of aggravated arson for setting his estranged ex-wife Dawn Laskey's home while she and her boyfriend were inside.

Deputies say around 11 p.m. on February 14, Laskey threw a beer bottle filled with a flammable liquid and a lighted sock used as a wick toward the home.

The bottle shattered when it hit the home, causing a small fire.

Fortunately, an unrelated text message awakened Ms. Laskey, at which point she fled the home with her boyfriend, William Dodson, 19.

The Hamblen County Volunteer Fire Department was able to quickly put out the fire, which only caused minor damage.

Dawn Laskey told deputies she suspected her estranged husband due to their tumultuous past relationship, and said he was angry over her new 19-year-old boyfriend.

Arson investigators conducted an extensive investigation and interrogation of Mr. Laskey, at which point he admitted to throwing the bottle and setting the home on fire.

He said he assaulted his ex-wife less than 24 hours after the fire.

He was arrested on domestic violence charges on February 24 and bonded out the next morning.

If convicted on the arson charge, he could face at least 25 years in prison.

Laskey is currently being held on $150,000 bond.

Ryan Matthew Bellew, 24, was also arrested, accused of driving Laskey to the home and that he was present when Laskey threw the Molotov cocktail.

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