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Arson suspect’s brother faced similar charges

Jared Felkins jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com • Updated Sep 3, 2014 at 8:20 AM

The brother of a suspect in an arson case where a badly burned body was found Friday after a house fire in Statesville was acquitted of similar charges two years ago. 

Alan Matthew Mooney Jr. remains the lone suspect in the case, but he hasn’t been charged. Wilson County Sheriff Bryan said the body is likely Alan Matthew Mooney Sr. But authorities can’t be sure until the body is positively identified since it was badly burned in the fire. He said results of those tests are expected sometime this week.

Mooney Jr., 38, of Smithville, remained Tuesday afternoon in Rutherford County Jail on $90,000 bond after he was charged with assault on an officer, reckless endangerment and evading arrest.

Mooney Jr. led Wilson County sheriff’s deputies on a low-speed chase early Saturday morning that ended in Murfreesboro.

Bryan said the chase started in the Statesville community. He said Mooney eventually led officers to Murfreesboro where Mooney wrecked in an intersection after officers disabled his car at two different times using spike strips during the chase. No one was injured.

Sheriff’s investigators searched for Mooney Jr. since Friday afternoon for questioning in his apparent involvement in the fire at his father’s Statesville home.

Two years ago, Mooney’s brother, Richard J. Mooney, of Watertown, stood trial in DeKalb County for murder and theft of property of more than $1,000 for the October 2009 death of Robert Senick. Senick’s body was found in the remains of his burned mobile home near Liberty. 

A jury found Richard Mooney not guilty in that case, but he is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence from an unrelated Rutherford County carjacking. No one has since been charged with killing Senick. 

Bryan said he spoke with DeKalb County Sheriff Patrick Ray about the Richard Mooney case, but he doesn’t believe it has anything to do with the arson case in Statesville. 

On Friday afternoon, Wilson Emergency Management Agency, Lascassas and Watertown volunteer firefighters responded to a fully engulfed home and out building Friday afternoon at 420 Armstrong Road in Statesville. The fire was a complete loss.

The property owner’s name is Marilyn Mooney, according to Wilson County property tax records, but Bryan said she died a few years ago.

Bryan said the lone resident, Mooney Sr., remains mission, but a badly burned body was found once the fire was extinguished. He said fire investigators also found evidence the fire was intentionally set.

According to Bryan, investigators haven’t charged Mooney with arson, but wanted to consult with District Attorney Tommy Thompson’s office first. That meeting was expected to take place Tuesday. Until charges are determined, Bryan said Mooney Jr. remained a suspect in the case.

Bryan said investigators are working with state bomb and arson agents, the state medical examiner and Middle Tennessee State University anthropology department officials to positively identify the body. 

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