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Former assistant DA arrested on arson charges

Former assistant DA arrested on arson charges

By Alton Mitchell

A former Chambers County Assistant District Attorney has found himself in the defendant’s chair for the second time in several months following a new set of charges being brought forth against him. Attorney Roland Lewis Sledge was arrested last week on arson charges stemming from a Fall 2017 fire at a Valley residence.

The 64-year-old Valley attorney was arrested and charged with second-degree arson last week. The charges stem from an October 21st fire at a home located at 305 U.S. Highway 29 in Valley. The home is near Valley High School. Investigators suspect that Sledge who is the owner of the property set the residence on fire. No motive for the blaze has been released.

Sledge was taken into custody on January 3rd after confessing to Valley investigators in an interview to setting the blaze. He was arrested on the arson charges and transported to the Russell County Jail in neighboring Phenix City.

Firefighters from the East Alabama Fire District responded to the October blaze and noted several signs early on that indicated the fire was most likely arson. Indicators included various fires burning in alternate areas of the home and flammable cannisters being near the front entrance of the home. No one was injured during the blaze at the home on October 21st.

Following the blaze an investigation immediately began into the cause of the fire. Several agencies began to investigate the cause of the blaze including; the Valley Police Department, East Alabama Fire, Alabama State Fire Marshals Office, and Alfa Insurance investigators. Those investigations led to two interviews of Sledge by investigators. It is speculated that Sledge confessed to setting the fire in the second interview and that leading to the arrest of last week.

The arrest on last week was not Sledge’s first encounter with the law. In July, Sledge was arrested in Chambers County on two counts of first-degree theft. The charges in July stemmed from an accusation of Sledge embezzling $16,000 from a juveniles account which Sledge had conservatorship over. That case is still pending and has not yet gone to trial.

However, Sledge was on bond for the theft charges at the time the fire erupted in October and his arrest in January. Immediately following his arrest and booking on the latest charges. Sledge was taken before District Court Judge Calvin Milford. Milford immediately revoked the previous bond of Sledge before he was hauled off to the Russell County Jail where he is housed without bond.

Sledge is a former assistant district attorney in Chambers County. He was terminated from his duties with the Chambers County District Attorney’s office last summer after allegations surfaced that he was working in the DA’s office and practicing as a private attorney. The private attorney allegations stemmed from Sledge acting as a conservator for a minor child. Those allegations later led to Sledge being charged in the theft case.

There is no word yet on when the case will go before a judge for the arson case. Roland Sledge has practiced law in Chambers County for decades. He graduated from Faulkner University’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law in Montgomery in April of 1991. Sledge ran a private practice on 20th Avenue in Valley before gaining full-time employment with the 5th Judicial Circuit, District Attorney’s Office in LaFayette.