Man sets home on fire, kills self


Staff Writer

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The body of a Tarboro man was found in the aftermath of a house fire that authorities have determined he intentionally set.

According to a press release from the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office, Grady Jeffery Leary’s remains were found inside his home at 368 Cotton Lane just outside of Tarboro. Authorities said deputies and firefighters were called to the large house about 11:30 p.m. Sunday and found the house fully engulfed in flames when they arrived at the scene. 

Detective Lt. E. W. Muse Jr.  of the Criminal Investigations Division of the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office said the house was a total loss. Deputies said three arson investigators from the State Bureau of Investigation processed the scene.

Investigators established that the fire was set deliberately. Evidence at the scene and uncovered during an autopsy revealed that Leary took his own life. Investigators also believe he set fire to the house and unattached garage.

Several agencies processed the scene with the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office, included firefighters from Princeville, Heartsease, Lewis Community, Monroe, Conetoe, Macclesfield, Speed, Tarboro and South Edgecombe. In addition, Edgecombe County Emergency Services, the Edgecombe County Rescue Squad and Edgecombe County Maintenance all assisted.

Edgecombe County Sheriff Clee Atkinson said he considers the case to be closed.

“We offer our condolences and prayers for the family of Mr. Leary,” he said. “We hope they find comfort in this trying time.”