Columbia man convicted of burglary and arson at Lexington County business which resulted in the death of a dog

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– According to the Eleventh Circuit Solicitor’s Office, a Columbia man was convicted of the burglary and arson of business in Lexington County which resulted in the death of a family dog. Officials say 28-year-old Christopher Dwayne Tillman Jr. was sentenced to 15 years in the South Carolina Department of Corrections.

On February 28, 2020, authorities say they responded to a fire at American Scrap Iron and Metal on Charleston Highway, just outside Cayce. Investigators say the fire destroyed the business and killed the family dog that lived there. Officials say Tillman was hired to remodel the office area of the business in January 2020, but was fired only weeks later for not following the owners instructions. According to officials, the business owner asked Tillman not to go into the private office area where the dog was kept.

On the morning of the fire, authorities say surveillance video captured a Black male with a small frame, wearing a hat and gloves, crawling around the shed area to try to avoid the cameras. Investigators say the individual was seen entering and exiting the business through a window, lighting something on fire and throwing it into the office. Authorities say the physical description of the individual matched Tillman, and they determined that he set the fire intentionally. Additionally, investigators say other surveillance shows Tillman’s vehicle parked next to the business during the time of the incident, as well as Tillman cashing a check in Richland County which was stolen from the business.

Officials say trial testimony shows the door to the private office area was kept closed to trap the dog inside as the fire burned.

Categories: Lexington, Local News, Richland