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Man faces attempted murder charges after police say he lit woman on fire

Carl Magee has been arrested after police said he set a woman on fire on Charleston's West Side. (WCHS/WVAH)

Charleston police arrested a man accused of setting a woman on fire Sunday while she was sleeping on a porch.

Carl T. Magee has been arrested after police said he poured gasoline on Rachele Jarrett while she was asleep on a porch on Randolph Street in Charleston. Jarrett, 44, was left in critical condition and was taken to the burn unit at Cabell Huntington Hospital.

Surveillance footage from a building on Randolph Street adjacent to the porch where Jarrett was sleeping showed a man carrying a gas can onto the porch. It then shows a fire ignited and the man running away from the home. The rest of the footage was too graphic to release, as it showed Jarrett on fire, trying to put out the flames.

According to the criminal complaint, a witness, David Barrett, told police he and Jarrett were both homeless. Barrett said he was asleep on the porch with Jarrett and was awakened by Magee pouring gasoline on him. Fortunately, he was able to escape before being set on fire.

Police said shortly after the woman was set on fire, a man matching that suspect’s description kicked in a door to a home on Wyoming Street and poured gasoline on the floor and tried to light it. People in the home were able to chase the suspect away before he could start the fire.


In a news conference Monday, mayor, prosecutor and police described the crime as one of the worst they have ever seen in Charleston. Mayor Danny Jones said a $2,500 reward was being offered for information leading to an arrest.

Magee was arrested in Kanawha City and has been charged with malicious wounding, arson and attempted murder. He is being held on a $500,000 bond.

Magee is from California, but police also obtained security footage photos of him at a homeless shelter and believe has been in the area for awhile.

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