UPDATE | Woman charged in deadly Mill Street fire indicted on murder charges

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Wedneday, August 8, 2018

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A woman arrested in connection to a deadly fire on Mill Street in May has been indicted.

According to court records, Letisha McClain has been indicted on a malice murder charge, felony murder charges, and aggravated assault charges.

One man died in the fire back in May. Deputies say McClain started the fire. They say before the fire, McClain allegedly said she was going to kill everyone inside the house.

Monday, May 14, 2018

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A woman has been arrested for arson in connection to the Mill Street fire that left one man dead.

The Richmond County Sheriff's Office has arrested 23-year-old Letisha McClain. Investigators say she argued with Walter, Tony, Terry and Ronald Benning before the fire.

McClain allegedly said she was going to kill everyone inside the house. Fire investigators say McClain set her bed on fire, causing the home to go up in flames Friday.

Walter Benning died in the fire, but all others were able to get out safely.

McClain is charged with murder, three counts of aggrivated assault, and arson in the first degree.

Friday, May 11, 2018
(News 12 at 6 O’Clock)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – A 66-year-old man died in a fire on Mill Street in Augusta early Friday morning. There’s not much left of the home, but it’s being treated as a crime scene.

The house sitting on the 1600 block of Mill Street went up in flames just before 2:30 a.m. Friday. Five people were inside at the time.

"When [fire crews] got here the fire was fully involved. They went through the process of trying to make sure everyone was out."

But that one person, Walter Bennings, was still inside the home. He didn’t make it out alive. Officials tell News 12 Bennings lived in his home with his four brothers. They all made it out safely.

"After the fire investigator was able to get to the scene, he started gathering information from people on the scene, people that were involved.”

That’s what led officials to determine this was more than just a routine fire investigation.

“From that moment, he knew that the fire investigation would change to being a possible crime scene."

Fire rescue says calling it a crime scene depends on the how they think the fire was caused.

Now, yellow tape lines the house as Augusta Fire Rescue and the Richmond County Sheriff's Office try to piece together how this fire happened – and who is responsible.

"We work hand in hand with them in reference to investigating any type of incident that needs further investigation. So right now they're here to make sure we all work together to figure out what was the cause of this fire."

News 12 is waiting for updates from the sheriff's office and Augusta Fire Rescue. We don't have a timeline for answers on these questions.

Several people were seen being taken in for questioning.

2:10 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen says 66-year-old Walter Benning was killed in a fire on Mill Street early Friday.

The body has been sent to the GBI crime lab for an autopsy. The house where the fire broke out is being treated as a crime scene.

6:00 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Fire officials say investigators are treating the house fire on Mill Street as a crime scene.

According to fire officials, there were five people inside the home at the time of the blaze. Four people made it out safe.

Everyone was treated at the scene.

Officials say the home was fully involved when they arrived on scene.

4:05 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The Richmond County Coroner's Office says at least one person has died in a house fire on Mill Street.

The coroner says the call came in around 2:25 Friday morning.

We have a crew on scene working to get more information.