CMPD: Man sets Corvette on fire in "crime of passion"

- A man accused of setting fire to a man’s dream car is now under arrest. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said it wasn’t a hate crime. The fire now looks more like "a crime of passion."

Police said the man seen in home surveillance video, setting fire to a mint condition C-4 Corvette, is 21-year-old Jackson Brooks. A witness told police they saw Jackson in the area where the fire was started and saw him driving away from the scene.

“We also determined another vehicle fire that occurred 13 miles away that happened an hour prior to this one,” CMPD Deputy Chief Johnny Jennings said. 

Seth Headley said the Corvette was his dream car. Initially, Headley believed the fire could be a hate crime because the car said equality in the back window and a pride flag hanging in front of his house was also set on fire. However, police said Headley’s roommate Sapphire Ashley was the target.

“He hurt my family, my friends and he effected the safety that we feel at home, you know. Before we knew it was him we did think it was a hate crime, that somebody targeted my best friend because of his orientation,” Ashley explained. 

Police determined the fire on Dogwood Circle was not a hate crime after learning another car, 13 miles away, was also set on fire an hour later. The victims in both cases had recently gone on dates with Brooks.

Ashley met Brooks less than a month ago, after he reached out to her on Facebook. The two had several mutual friends.

“It was a couple of dates. It was very casual, there was nothing. There was never any hostility or anything so the only thing that could run through my mind is why would you do this? What made you so angry that you had to do this horrible thing at my home?”

She said she hadn’t spoken to Brooks in nearly a week. She said she’d reached out to him to see if he was okay. She now feels guilty for what happened, and said she shouldn’t have let him pick her up for their date.

“I think that was my biggest regret for the whole situation is that I did let him come to my home. I did let him see where I live," she said. 

Brooks is charged with felony burning of personal property. Police said in a press conference Thursday that additional charges are pending and they’re still working to find a motive.

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