The man accused of setting a home on fire in Oak Grove while his wife was inside in April appeared in Christian Circuit Court Judge John Atkins’ court Wednesday morning for a bond reduction motion hearing.

Charles Smalls, 50, appeared in Atkins’ court via Zoom while at the Christian County Jail while his defense attorney Stephanie Ritchie-Mize appeared in person to argue on his behalf to have his bond reduced and be allowed release from custody.

Smalls is currently charged with a single count of first-degree arson.

“I’ve been in contact with his family and Mr. Smalls has been in custody for quite some time,” Ritchie-Mize said as she began arguing for his bond reduction.

“His sister lives in North Carolina and we are asking the court to allow him to post bond and be placed on an ankle monitor and stay with his sister while this case is pending.”

Ritchie-Mize added that the defense and the commonwealth is hoping to get a resolution in the case, but there had been a delay on their negotiations as the victim in the case had to recover from her injuries before she could be interviewed by police.

Christian County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rick Boling shared that the commonwealth would be against any form of change to Smalls’ bond.

“I’ve talked to the victim and we are not in agreement to any kind of reduction of bond whatsoever,” he said.

“We feel the bond is appropriate based on the charges in this case. The wife is truly scared for her life, so again, our position is that the bond is appropriate as is and we would object to any release, but more importantly, we object to release on ankle monitor. I don’t think he should get any jail credit while he’s out based on his conduct and this crime.”

After hearing both arguments, Atkins ultimately sided with the commonwealth and chose to deny the bond reduction motion.

“I find that Mr. Smalls is clearly a danger to others and that the bond is appropriate,” he said.

Following Atkins’ decision, Ritchie-Mize advised the court that she would be obtaining additional evidence from the commonwealth this week and that the defense has reviewed all other evidence they have received in the case.

Ritchie-Mize added that after she learned the wife’s “position” in the case that she believes the case may still be able to be resolved. Boling agreed.

Atkins then continued the case to a another pretrial conference to allow both parties to continue negotiating a resolution.

According to past reports, Smalls is alleged to have set fire to a mobile home on Zackary Street in Oak Grove while his wife was trapped inside on April 21.

Smalls allegedly used lighter fluid and poured inside their home in the area of the bedroom, where his wife was still inside. Smalls was reportedly able to escape the home while he allegedly left his wife in the burning mobile home.

His wife suffered life-threatening injuries and was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Nashville, where she was ultimately treated.

Smalls had claimed to police that the fire was set accidentally.

In other court news, Robert Jackson, 36, who was recently arrested on a warrant for reckless homicide for allegedly causing the death of two individuals in a vehicle collision that occurred in December 2019, also appeared in court as his defense attorney argued for a bond reduction on his behalf.

His bond is currently set at $100,000 in cash.

Jackson’s defense attorney Alison Mohon argued that Jackson had also received serious injuries from the collision and is still dealing with those injuries two years later and argued that while the court previously ordered that he be allowed all of his medications in jail, he is only getting them sporadically.

“And, $100,000 is just an oppressive bond for him, especially if you take his past out of it, which is the reason he’s (in jail),” Mohon added.

However, Mohon also acknowledged that her bond motion had only been filed Tuesday, the day before Jackson was to appear for a regular pretrial conference hearing.

She continued to argue, though, that he is not a danger to the community and if he were allowed to be released, he would be able to get his medications consistently, which she said would also allow him to appropriate work on his case.

“I understand that there are people that died in this accident and I understand that one was a juvenile,” she said.

“However, keeping him incarcerated as a danger to the community, just doesn’t seem to fit, especially in light of what his parole officer would say if she were here to testify on his behalf. When I spoke with her, she offered to write a letter or whatever she needed to do to show that he was doing what he was supposed to be doing at the time of that accident.”

Mohon also raised an issue that the commonwealth had told her that the evidence in the case had been sent to her, but she had not yet received it.

After hearing her argument, Boling, who was standing in for Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Bolen, shared that the evidence in the case was forwarded to Mohon right after the commonwealth received her motion Tuesday.

“First of all, I would object to that filing of a motion the day before court — seven days is what it’s supposed to be for the commonwealth to be able to respond to it,” Boling said before requesting the court to continue the bond motion hearing one week to allow Bolen to appear and properly argue the matter.

Self, however, decided to allow the commonwealth two weeks to file a written response to Mohon’s motion and subsequently argue it in person in his court.

Self set the bond hearing for Nov. 10.

Jackson is currently charged with two counts of reckless homicide and two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment.

According to New Era archives, Jackson was served a warrant for his arrest on charges of reckless homicide and wanton endangerment on Sept. 19, this year.

Jackson is accused of crossing the centerline of Princeton Road and colliding head-on with a vehicle driven by Misty Quarles, 32 on Dec. 23, 2019.

The collision reportedly caused Quarles’ vehicle to exit a bridge and land in a creek bed. Misty Quarles and Alexia Trump, 11, who was a passenger in the vehicle died from their injuries sustained in the wreck.

Two other passengers in the vehicle, Marcus Quarles, 34, and a juvenile who was referenced in the indictment as “G.Q.,” were seriously injured in the collision and were flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, but were able to survive.

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