published Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Hearing rescheduled in Red Bank arson death

A hearing for a 33-year-old man charged in the arson death of a 51-year-old Red Bank man was rescheduled Monday for Jan. 13.

Christopher Wehunt was still being held on a $750,000 bond in jail custody before the scheduled preliminary Monday hearing on charges of arson and criminal homicide.

Wehunt’s attorney, Zak Newman, asked Red Bank City Court Judge Johnny Houston to reschedule the hearing to ensure all witnesses could be present and for him to review evidence given to him by city police.

Houston granted the rescheduling after Newman and prosecutor Tom Landis agreed to the new date. Wehunt was not present for the hearing.

Red Bank City Court meets weekly on Mondays. The new date of Jan. 13 is the next available on the court’s docket.

Wehunt was arrested and charged in the Thanksgiving Day death of Dewey Rose. After the hearing the late Rose’s wife, Michelle Rose, told the Times Free Press that Wehunt had banged on the couple’s apartment door at 127 Hedgewood Drive at 4:30 a.m. and cursed her husband when he answered the door.

Dewey Rose gave Wehunt a blanket. Michelle Rose said she believed Wehunt got gasoline from a container inside of her car that he then used to douse the blanket and set it ablaze at the couple’s door.

Michelle Rose said investigators found a rolled cigarette and an empty beer container in the car, and she does not drink alcohol.

The fire spread, filling the second-floor apartment with smoke. Michelle Rose jumped from the window. Dewey Rose collapsed. Firefighters found his body hours later, she said.

Contact staff writer Todd South at or 423-757-6347.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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