McALESTER, Okla. — A McAlester man was being held Monday in the Pittsburg County Jail after allegedly starting a fire in an apartment with children inside the residence because his girlfriend “wouldn’t talk to him.”

Brannon Joanah Clayton, 20, was charged Sept. 7 with felony arson in the first degree, according to documents filed by the office of District 18 District Attorney Chuck Sullivan.

Jail records show Clayton was being held Monday on a $50,000 bond.

According to a probable cause affidavit prepared by McAlester Police Officer Jack Suter, officers were dispatched to the Westridge Village Apartments for a report of a possible fire and fight.

Suter wrote in his report he observed a couple of people standing outside of an apartment and a man sitting down on the curb before observing smoke coming from an open apartment door.

A woman told the officer that “he was crazy” while pointing at the man that was sitting down, the affidavit states.

Suter then made his way to the apartment to make sure no one was inside and observed another man – who identified himself as a sergeant that works at the prison and told the officer he was also making sure that nobody was inside, the affidavit states.

The officer wrote in his report he observed some blankets on the floor of the hallway with burnt spots on them.

After walking back outside, Suter spoke with the man sitting on the curb – who identified himself as Clayton – and the man told the officer his girlfriend “has had a guy staying over for about a week now” and that they had “been doing drugs and stuff and that she cheated on him with the other guy, but she won’t admit it,” the affidavit states.

According to the affidavit, Clayton told Suter that he had “blacked out.”

Suter wrote in his report that he then asked Clayton if he started a fire, in which Clayton replied, “it looks like it.”

When asked why he would start a fire, Clayton told the officer “she wouldn’t talk to me,” the affidavit states.

The officer then began to speak with the woman he spoke with earlier who again told Suter that Clayton “was crazy” and "set the place on fire in the closet with his kid in there," the affidavit states. The woman also told the officer Clayton set the place on fire because his girlfriend would not talk to him, the report states.

She told the officer she was sitting on the couch with her boyfriend when she heard a noise, but laid back down on the couch because she thought it was the dryer, the affidavit states. According to the report, the woman told Suter she heard the noise getting “louder and louder” before yelling "fire" and running to the back bedroom and finding the door locked.

The woman’s boyfriend told the officer that the fire alarm started going off and he saw smoke coming from the back bedroom, the report states. He told Suter the door to the bedroom was locked so he opened the door with his knife and Clayton’s girlfriend pushed past him to “get her baby out of the room,” the affidavit states.

The woman then told Suter that Clayton came out of the room holding the child and that is when everybody went outside and a fight began between the men, the affidavit states.

Suter wrote he placed Clayton under arrest for arson in the first degree and found a white cigarette lighter in Clayton’s left front pocket during a pat down that was seized for evidence, the affidavit states.

Pittsburg County Court records show Clayton was currently serving a three-year deferred sentence from 2017 for felony endangering others while eluding, misdemeanor larceny of merchandise from retailer, misdemeanor transporting opened container of beer, and misdemeanor resisting an officer.

Records show an application to accelerate Clayton’s deferred sentence was filed by the DA’s office in response to the new felony charge.

Clayton is scheduled for a preliminary hearing conference at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 14, according to court documents.

Contact Derrick James at djames@mcalesternews.com

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