2005-12-15 / News

Lisa Clay indicted on arson charge

By Donna K. Drago

Nearly one year since a night of mayhem resulted in two assaults and the destruction by fire of a house on Coulter Street, a Newport County Grand Jury handed down an indictment Dec. 9 of Lisa Clay, 36, whose last known address is 101 Stern St.

According to the attorney general’s office, Clay was indicted on one count of first degree arson, for allegedly setting the fire that destroyed the house at 23 Coulter St., and one count of felony assault for biting Vincent Hyman, the owner of the house. She was also charged with one count of fifth degree arson, for attempting to destroy the house at 101 Stern St., which was owned by a man with whom she was having a relationship, one count of vandalism for allegedly knocking over furniture and causing damage at the Stern Street address. In addition, Clay was charged with one count of simple assault for allegedly biting Sgt. Angela Denault of the Jamestown Police Department, who was attempting to restrain Clay when she became combative after being taken to Newport Hospital following her arrest.

There were also three counts of unlawful possession of controlled substances, according to the AG’s report.

Sgt. Frank Watson, who led the investigation for the Jamestown Police Department, said that he was very pleased that the grand jury came back with the indictment.

He noted that the drug charges resulted from a search of Clay’s vehicle after it was impounded following her arrest. Among the drugs found in the car were marijuana, Diazepam, and Alprazolam, the AG’s report said.

As the Press reported in its Jan. 6, 2005 issue, the mayhem began after Clay allegedly had a falling out with her live-in boyfriend at 101 Stern St. on the evening of Jan. 4. During the confrontation, Clay was said to have bitten the hand of a friend of the boyfriend and then she caused damage to the Stern Street house by knocking over furniture and allegedly spilling what Police Chief Thomas Tighe then called “a substance that appeared to be kerosene” on surfaces around the house.

Before police arrived at the Stern Street address, Clay fled the scene.

The man who was bitten was taken to Newport Hospital for treatment, and as the ambulance returned over the Newport Bridge, EMTs spotted a fire along the eastern shore of the island, just north of the bridge.

The fire turned out to be at the home of Vincent Hyman, the man who Clay had bitten on Stern Street.

The fire completely destroyed the house and caused considerable damage to the neighboring house on Coulter Street.

Clay was later spotted in Saunderstown by a person who was aware that she was being sought by police, and she was picked up at the Hess Station on Boston Neck Road, according to Sgt. Watson.

After her arraignment, Clay was sent to the Adult Correctional Institutions in Cranston for being a probation violator on another charge, Watson said, noting that Clay is currently in the ACI, following an assault charge last month in Middletown.

She is scheduled to be arraigned in Newport County Superior Court on the arson indictment on Dec. 15, the attorney general’s report said.

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