Affidavit: Austin man accused of using Molotov cocktail to start apartment fire

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin man is accused of using a Molotov cocktail to start a fire at an east Austin apartment, according to an arrest affidavit.

The affidavit says the Austin Fire Department was called to an apartment fire at 8401 Garcreek Circle on Thursday. When responders arrived at the east Austin location, AFD found a mattress on fire at the bottom of the stairs of the residence.

Witnesses told AFD a man that they knew was seen carrying a liquor bottle with a rag hanging out the neck of the bottle near the stairs.

The witnesses told fire investigators the man had returned to the scene and was parked in a white van behind the AFD unit, the affidavit says.

The man, identified as William Benton, 33, told investigators he knew why he was was being arrested. He told investigators he started the fire because his former girlfriend lived at the location and he believed “she was out to get him,” according to the affidavit.

A witness at the apartment told investigators he heard three loud bangs on the door. Then he saw a bright flash through a crack in the door. The affidavit says when the witness opened the door he found the mattress on fire, blocking the entrance to the apartment. Investigators found broken glass and burnt cloth near the scene.

Benton has been charged with arson and, as of Sunday, July 5, is in custody at Travis County jail.

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