Charges Dropped Against Teens Accused In Fatal Gatlinburg Fires

Credit: Brandon Reese / Tennessean

The two teen boys accused of causing the fires that killed 14 people and leaving thousands of residents homeless, have had the charges against them dropped – says an attorney that is representing one of the boys.

In a new report from the Knoxville News Sentinel, defense attorney Gregory P. Isaacs reveals that the attorney general is dropping the aggravated arson charges against the 15 and 17-year-old boys, but did not immediately provide follow up information.

The Gatlinburg-area wildfires were some of the worst to ever hit that area of Tennessee and spread more quickly than anyone could have anticipated. The fires originated around Chimney Tops hiking trail, and it was in that spot that a hiker captured footage of the two accused boys walking along the trail and allegedly tossing lit matches into the brush.

The fires raged for more than a week and caused the deaths of 14 people, destroyed more than 2,400 homes and businesses, while causing millions of dollars worth of damage. This was the state’s deadliest wildfire in a century.

The two teenage boys were charged with aggravated arson in early December 2016, and during that time Attorney General Jimmy Dunn revealed that his office was considering additional charges against them, and looking at charging them as adults. “All options are on the table,” he said.

Isaacs’ statement comes just days after a gag order was lifted on documents in the case and states that he will be holding a news conference on Friday (June 30th) in the late afternoon to provide details on the dismissal.

Until now, all hearings, documents and findings in the case have been kept secret following the gag order implemented at the beginning of the case.

What do you think about the decision to drop the charges? Let us know in the comments. 

We will keep you updated on this developing story as more information becomes available.