Men Poured Gas on Victim Before Fire

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By Alicia Barnes

AYNOR, S.C. (AP) _ Authorities say the two suspects from North Carolina charged with killing a Horry County man by setting his home on fire tied him up and poured gasoline on him before igniting the blaze.

Police said 68-year-old Charles Smith died in the fire in his Aynor home last month.

Investigators released arrest warrants against 20-year-old Tommy Benton, of Chadburn, North Carolina, and 19-year-old Mitchell Cheatham, of Council, North Carolina. Both men are charged with murder and arson.

Police are still investigating a fire at a furniture store owned by Smith three days before he was killed.

Investigators say both suspects are in custody in North Carolina on unrelated charges, and South Carolina authorities are seeking their extradition. It wasn't known if they had lawyers.

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