06/15/08 — No more charges expected in Aycock fire

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No more charges expected in Aycock fire

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on June 15, 2008 2:00 AM

News-Argus Video Report

When a set fire ripped through the birthplace of Charles B. Aycock, investigators examined all possible motives.

Recent political controversy over the Wayne County native who served as governor more than a century ago led some to believe the fire might have been the work of someone who considered Aycock a racist. But investigators now say they believe the arson was simply vandalism and that the two men already charged in the case will be the only ones charged.

Detective Lt. Carl Lancaster of the Wayne County Sheriff's Office said a third suspect had been under investigation, but charges against him did not materialize. The two men arrested were Durwood Eugene Smith III, 17, and James Sean Suggs, 37.

The "mischief" proved costly to the landmark. The birthplace home, the site's main attraction, has been closed to visitors since the fire. Damages were estimated at $200,000 but site manager Leigh Strickland said some artifacts were lost forever.