Charged with setting fatal fire

A Hunt County man has been charged with setting a fire at a Greenville residence which claimed the life of the person living there.

A Hunt County man has been charged with setting a fire at a Greenville residence which claimed the life of the person living there.

Kerith Gilstrap was indicted Friday by the Hunt County grand jury in connection with the April fire and had previously been charged with murder in connection with the incident.

Two Greenville men were also indicted on charges of armed robbery and the grand jury issued at least an indictment involving a reported armed assault and one where a peace officer was attacked, as the panel convened for the first monthly session of its six-month term lasting until the end of 2021.

The grand jury issued a total of 29 indictments Friday, including three charges which were issued sealed pending the arrest and arraignment of the person or persons named in the documents. The grand jury also issued three “no bills,” which means its investigation did not find sufficient evidence to issue an indictment.

Hearings on arraignments on the indictments issued Friday were not immediately scheduled.

• Kerith Gilstrap, 43, of Greenville was indicted on one count of arson causing serious bodily injury/death. On the morning of April 13, personnel with the Greenville Fire-Rescue Department were dispatched to a report of a fire at a residence at 4902 Bourland Street which resulted in the death of Christopher James Hawkins, 43, of Greenville. Gilstrap was reported to have lived at the residence with the victim. The fire was investigated by the Greenville Police Department, Greenville Fire-Rescue Department and the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

The charge is a first degree felony, punishable upon conviction by a maximum sentence of from five to 99 years to life in prison.

• Johnny Ray Sanders, 21, of Greenville and Jatwane Antwon Wilson, 20, both of Greenville were each indicted on one count of aggravated robbery. The Greenville Police Department reported officers were dispatched at approximately 2:44 p.m. April 10, 2020 to a robbery in the 100 block of Ellis Circle. It was reported the suspects arranged a meeting through Facebook with the victim to purchase a cell phone. Using a firearm, the suspects demanded money and property from the victim and then fled the scene. As officers arrived in the area, they began searching for the suspects, later identified as Sanders and Wilson, who were located a short time later and were arrested after a brief foot pursuit with officers.

Aggravated robbery is a first degree felony, punishable upon conviction by a maximum sentence of from five to 99 years to life in prison.

• Taylor Brett Adams, 20, of Commerce, was indicted on one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Adams was alleged in the indictment to have struck a male victim in the side with a knife on March 16. Aggravated assault is a second degree felony, punishable upon conviction by a maximum sentence of from two to 20 years in prison and an optional fine of up to $10,000.

• Marcus Maxwell of Commerce received one indictment for assault on a public servant and one for attempting to take weapon from peace officer. Maxwell was alleged in the indictments to have struck a peace officer in the back of the head with his fist while attempting to take the officer’s weapon during an incident on May 9.

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