A resident of Bailey Manor was charged today with Attempted Murder in connection with yesterday afternoon’s fire at Bailey Manor. 84-year-old Alton Payton of 300 Jacobs Highway, Clinton was charged with one count of Attempted Murder and with Malicious Damage to Real Property.
He is accused of driving his Buick through the front door of Bailey Manor. Clinton Public Safety Director Robin Morse said SLED assisted Clinton Public Safety in the investigation of the criminal investigation of the case. Morse noted that Payton had a gas can in the car driven into the building, and was combative with the Public Safety officer trying to get him out of the car.
Chief Morse praised the work of the Bailey Manor Staff who were able to evacuate all the residence in eight minutes. He also thanked his staff and all the other emergency personnel from the County and many rural fire departments who came in to help. Morse said that there were even more ambulances available than needed. While many people were attended to at the scene, eight were transported to the Laurens County Memorial Hospital, primarily for smoke inhalation. While none of the injuries were deemed critical, we have learned that two were admitted to the hospital.
Chief Morse told WLBG that many people who would normally have been in the front of the building where the car entered were in the rear of the center attending a special event when the car came crashing through the lobby and down the hallway at Bailey Manor.
During arraignment today for 84-year-old Alton Payton, bond was denied on the Attempted Murder charge. A $10,000 bond was set on the Malicious Damage case. Alton Payton remained in the Johnson Detention Center.