Charges upgraded to attempted murder for alleged arsonist

Published 3:33 pm Monday, April 24, 2023

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By Chandler Inions

GOLD HILL — A woman accused of arson and assault with a deadly weapon after an incident in July is now also facing attempted murder charges.

Christie Jones

Christie Louise Jones, 50, was reportedly offered a plea deal by the Rowan County District Attorney’s Office, but she declined that offer.

According to information from the Rowan County Clerk’s Office, jurors found enough evidence to amend the charges to include attempted murder, saying that she acted with malice and forethought when she attempted to murder Derek Mowry, who was described in reports as an ex-boyfriend.

In an unusual twist, after the incident, it was discovered that Jones had actually gone to the wrong house.

According to reports, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of attempted arson just before 7:30 a.m. July 22, 2022 when a woman called to say a woman neither she nor her husband knew was outside trying to set their house on fire.

Reports say that the victims’ neighbor called and woke the wife of the couple who live in the home just after 7 a.m., saying they could see a woman on their porch and it looked like she was trying to set the porch on fire.

The wife woke her husband, who then went downstairs to investigate. He saw a pile of wood burning on the front porch. Initially, he attempted to get enough water from the kitchen sink to put out the fire, but when that did not work, he called his wife to bring the fire extinguisher while he went to the backyard to get the hose. When he got to the backyard, he saw that someone had piled wood that was on fire around a propane tank. He tried to turn on the hose but told deputies only a trickle of water came out. The man said he keeps a spray bottle of water sealant nearby for use on their above-ground pool, and he realized someone had used that sealant on the hose to prevent water from getting out.

The man realized the fires were intentional, and while his wife called 911, he went into the house and retrieved his rifle.

Reports indicated that the man then spotted an unknown car that appeared to be parked across his driveway, blocking access to the house. Beside the car, he could see a person, though initially, he could not tell if it was a man or a woman, but he did notice that the person had one of his dogs on a leash, and his other dog was roaming freely nearby. He approached the person, who turned out to be a woman, and asked her what she was doing. He told deputies, “She looked at me like she didn’t know who I was,” and she mumbled something that he could not understand.

The man said he tried to keep the unknown woman from leaving when they heard sirens approaching, but she got in the car and used the vehicle to push him out of her way. When deputies arrived, the male homeowner was able to give a description of the woman and her car, along with her license plate number. In addition, a neighbor gave deputies the woman’s name. Deputies determined the woman lived in Stanly County and contacted deputies there. They arrested Jones a short time later.