June 27, 2024

Smith County Man Charged with Arson and Murder After Man Found Dead In House Fire

Morgan Howard

On May 3, Smith County Dispatch was called from a passerby reporting a house fire at a man named Frank Black’s home on SCR 558 in the Homewood community.

Homewood, Polkville, and Pineville Fire Departments, along with Smith County Deputies and Emergency Management, all responded to the scene.

Source: Smith County SO
Source: Smith County SO

The homeowner, Frank Black, was unaccounted for and presumed to be inside the burning house. Firefighters battled the blaze for several hours before searching for Black. His remains were found in the home just before midnight.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office and Smith County investigators began investigating the fire. On May 13, a man named Billy Black was brought in for questioning regarding an unrelated non-residential burglary, leading to his arrest.

The investigation continued, with Smith County Investigators conducting interviews and gathering additional evidence. By June 18, 2024, sufficient evidence had been amassed to charge Billy Black with 1st Degree Arson and 1st Degree Murder in connection with Frank Black’s death.

“These types of cases can be lengthy at times, and I want to thank the public for their patience and assistance while we worked diligently on this horrendous case,” said Sheriff Joel Houston.

He urged anyone with additional information to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 601-782-4531.

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