Norman man charged with arson

By Jamie Berry

, malicious injury to property

A Norman man was charged Wednesday in Cleveland County District Court with felony counts of arson and malicious injury to property over $1,000 after allegedly setting fire to a 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee in Norman.

According to a court affidavit, the Norman Fire Department responded to a vehicle fire report about 4 a.m. April 5 in the 400 block of Elm Avenue, across the street from suspect Austin Garret Moore, 37.

A fire investigator ruled that the fire had been set intentionally and had burn patterns consistent with burning from inside the rear cab of the vehicle.

According to the affidavit, the investigator also saw rocks and boulders on the inside and outside of the car that appeared to have been used on the windows and windshield to gain entry.

He also saw words that appeared to be scratched into the burned car’s hood noting individuals’ first names and a phone number. The license plate appeared to have been removed before the fire, and was later found in Moore’s possession.

The affidavit states that Moore told fire investigators that he reported the fire and was a witness to the events.

He also said he had parked his vehicle at his neighbor’s driveway overnight before and received a note on his window from the resident telling him he wasn’t allowed to park there, the affidavit states.

The fire victim was listed as the resident’s boyfriend.

During the conversation, Moore told fire investigators that he moved from Dallas to Norman to make a better life for himself, a woman and her unborn child, whose names had been scratched into the vehicle. The phone number scratched into the vehicle also came back as belonging to Moore.

According to the affidavit, Moore showed fire investigators four photos taken on his phone of the vehicle fire, but when investigators later obtained his phone to download the photos, the images were missing, indicating that they had been deleted. The rocks found on scene also were later found to have belonged on Moore’s lawn across the street from the vehicle fire.

According to the affidavit, fire investigators talked to the woman whose name was on the vehicle, who told them she was never involved romantically with Moore and cut off their relationship in September.

Moore’s father, who owned Moore’s house, said his son suffers from mental stresses caused by medication, according to the affidavit.

Special Judge Lori Puckett issued an arrest warrant for Moore and a $25,000 bond. His bond was posted Thursday by a multi-county agent.

No events are currently listed on the Oklahoma State Courts Network for Moore.

Moore man charged with assault after alleged stabbing

A Moore man was charged Wednesday in Cleveland County District Court with assault and battery with intent to kill after he allegedly stabbed another man in the chest with a knife April 24.

According to a court affidavit, Moore police responded to the 2100 block of Ridgewood Drive in Moore.

The victim said he heard Benny Hansford Brown, 42, fighting with a girlfriend inside a residence, and he got off the couch to investigate, according to the affidavit. Brown then approached him and stabbed him in the torso.

Brown was read his Miranda rights and agreed to talk to police. According to the affidavit, Brown claimed the victim charged at him, so he stabbed him. However, he never saw the victim with a weapon. The victim had two stab wounds to the torso and was transported by ambulance to a hospital.

The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office website does not show Brown in custody at this time.

— Jamie Berry, Transcript Staff Writer

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