By Frank Lewis
A man charged with setting two house fires in the same night has pled guilty to eight aggravated arson counts. Marshawn Smith, 21 of Columbus was sentenced to 20 years in Prison
Law enforcement officers in New Boston and Portsmouth said Smith set fires at 1640 1/2 12th St., in Portsmouth and 3717 Rhodes Ave. in New Boston in an attempt to get back at his estranged girlfriend that he believed was hiding in the house on 12th Street. Officers were able to track Smith down and he was taken into custody at 1802 Kendall Ave., and was transported to the Portsmouth Police Department for questioning.
The Portsmouth Police Department and the Ohio State Fire Marshall’s Office are continuing the investigation into that arson fire that injured two children during the early morning hours on Saturday.
The 12th Street fire was at the residence of Marybeth Conchafsky. Conchafsky, Ashley Woods, and Conchafsky’s children were all present in the residence when the fire started. Portsmouth Ambulance was called to the scene and transported two of Conchafsky’s children to Southern Ohio Medical Center for treatment of first and second degree burns to their hands, arms and face. The children were transported from SOMC to the Children’s Hospital Burn Unit in Columbus.
Smith reportedly told officers that he had been involved in an argument with his estranged girlfriend, Ashley Wood, earlier in the day and had set her apartment on fire in New Boston in an attempt to get back at her and show her she could not get away from him. Smith said that Wood was not home at the time he set the fire.
Police said Smith said he learned that Wood may be hiding out at Conchafsky’s house on 12th Street so he went there looking for her. Smith said that he set a trash can that was sitting by the front entrance door on fire in an attempt to get Wood to come out. The fire quickly spread to the entire front of the older wooden structure and the front door is the only entrance to the house so the occupants were force to flee through the fire to get out of the structure.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.