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Domestic dispute probe leads to arson charge in 2019 fire; more charges filed
CHRISTOPHER LEE BETTS

Update, June 5: A Gainesville man was charged with two additional counts of first-degree arson involving four structures in Hall County, according to authorities.

Christopher Lee Betts, 31, was previously charged with arson after an investigation May 22 on Hall Drive off of White Sulphur Road. Hall County Fire Services Division Chief Zach Brackett said the Hall County fire marshal’s office obtained information during the White Sulphur Road incident that led to the first-degree arson charge for Betts.

Brackett said the two new arson charges are related to four structures that were completely destroyed May 22 on Hillcrest Drive, including an abandoned residence, two abandoned single-wide mobile homes and an outbuilding.

Brackett did not have an approximate value of the property destroyed.

Betts was also charged with aggravated assault under the Family Violence Act. He was booked into the Hall County Jail, where he remains.

Defense attorney Chris van Rossem declined to comment.

The case is still under investigation.


Original story: Officers investigating a domestic dispute last week discovered information leading to an arson charge for a Gainesville man, according to authorities.

Hall County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called around 3 p.m. Friday, May 22, to the 3200 block of Hall Drive off of White Sulphur Road.

Christopher Lee Betts, 31, allegedly “grabbed his mother … by the throat with his hand, choking her and holding her to the ground,” Sheriff’s Office spokesman Derreck Booth wrote in an email.

Booth said this happened in a tent “on the property where Betts resides.”

The woman was not injured, Booth said.

Hall County Fire Services Division Chief Zach Brackett said the Hall County fire marshal’s office obtained information during the White Sulphur Road incident that led to the first-degree arson charge for Betts.

Brackett said the charge related to an Aug. 19, 2019, fire off of Dana Drive, where investigators believe an abandoned home was intentionally set on fire.

“Additional arson charges are pending for an incident that occurred on May 22 involving multiple structures that were on fire off of White Sulphur Road,” Brackett wrote in an email.

Brackett did not release any further details.

Betts was also charged with aggravated assault under the Family Violence Act. He was booked into the Hall County Jail, where he remains.

No attorney information was available Wednesday, May 27, from Magistrate Court officials.

The case is still under investigation.


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