Washington County fires lead to murder, arson charges

ELLSWORTH — A Robbinston man has been charged with depraved indifference murder in connection with a fatal Oct. 7 fire in Robbinston.

Charles “Chip” Townsend, 32, was arrested last week on charges of arson and depraved indifference murder following the investigation into the fire that claimed the life of 66-year-old Wayne Morrill. 

Morrill’s body was found inside his home at 88 Ridge Road. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that he died as a result of smoke inhalation. 

The State Fire Marshal’s Office contacted the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit North to help investigate Morrill’s death. 

“With the assistance of Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, Calais Police and Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the investigation determined that Townsend set the fire that caused Wayne Morrill’s death,” according to a joint agency statement.

Townsend was taken to Washington County Jail following his arrest.

In a separate incident, investigators with the Fire Marshal’s Office have arrested a Calais man for allegedly setting fire to a Calais residence Nov. 3.

John Bennett, 29, of Calais was arrested Nov. 5 and charged him with arson (Class A). He was taken to Washington County Jail.

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