GREENSBORO, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A Richmond County resident was sentenced to 12 ½ years in prison Thursday for setting a building on fire, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina announced. 

Corey Lamont Carter, 45, was convicted after his guilty plea on Oct. 3, 2022. He was charged with arson of a rental property located on Dixieland Drive in Rockingham.

According to court records, on Jan. 24, 2022, Richmond County deputies responded to a reported structure fire at 199 Dixieland Drive in Rockingham, less than a half-mile east of Richmond Senior High School. Upon arrival, the residence was fully engulfed in flames. 

The home’s occupant reportedly told deputies that her boyfriend, cited as Carter, had set the home on fire, the attorney’s office said. The occupant said that she and her son made it out of the home safely. The occupant told deputies that she and Carter had an argument and she walked outside to call police. She then noted, after turning back towards the residence, that it was on fire. Carter then fled the scene. 

A short time later a resident of the Maner Road section of Rockingham reported to deputies that she saw a man matching the description of Carter running north on U.S. 1 carrying a gas can, the court records show. The caller reportedly told deputies that he then ran to an abandoned two-story white house near the wood line. As deputies approached the front door to the home, Carter walked out of the home with his hands up. 

As he was being escorted to a patrol vehicle, made a spontaneous statement, allegedly saying, “I know what y’all looking for, the gas can, it’s in the house.” Carter was then placed under arrest. 

Deputies also located two books of matches and a lighter in Carter’s pocket. Deputies also recovered the gas can from inside the abandoned home. In a post-Miranda statement, Carter admitted to having set the fire on Dixieland Drive. The residence was being used as rental property at the time of the fire with a tenant living in the home, and the fire resulted in a complete loss, including contents.  

The State Bureau of Investigation reported that this fire was ignited when a person, presumably Carter, poured an unknown ignitable liquid on the floor in the bedroom located at the end of the hallway and up the hallway to the kitchen, and then used a lighter to ignite the vapors. The fire then spread through the available combustibles inside the house. The fire was classified as incendiary in nature.  

U.S District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder sentenced Carter to 151 months in federal prison. Carter also was ordered to serve a three-year term of supervised release, pay restitution of $11,500, and to pay a special assessment of $100.00.  

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Clifton T. Barrett.