ONLY ON 3: Roommate speaks out on friend charged with Red Bank arson, homicide
A Red Bank man is facing serious charges, including criminal homicide, after a man died early Thanksgiving morning in an apartment fire.
Thirty-three-year-old Christopher Wehunt is accused of setting the Hedgewood Drive building on fire. Fifty-one-year-old Dewey Rose never made it out alive.
Wehunt's best friend and roommate tells Channel 3 he wants to wait until all the facts are in before casting judgement.
"My heart goes out to the families that lost their place to live and especially the guy that died. That shouldn't have ever happened," says Alan Barra, Wehunt's roommate. "But who's to say it wasn't somebody smoking a cigarette and flipped a cigarette down and it caught fire?"
Alan Barra is having a hard time believing his best friend, 33-year-old Christopher Wehunt, is facing criminal homicide and arson charges.
"I'm not going to say whether he did or did not do it, but I just, my heart wants to say that he did not do it," says Barra.
Barra says Wehunt has been living with him off and on for the past six months but says he has known him since childhood.
"He's not always been the most stable person, I guess you could say, but he's got a good heart."
He also has a lengthy criminal history. Over the past three years, Wehunt was arrested at least four times for public intoxication. He has also been arrested on other charges in the past.
"He's got a drinking problem. I'm not going to say that he don't. But that doesn't make him a bad guy. Everybody's got their own downfalls. I've had mine, he's had his. I'm sure everybody's had theirs," says Barra.
"He was very very calm. He was somewhat intoxicated," says Red Bank Police Chief Tim Christol, referring to Wehunt's arrest.
Chief Christol did not want to talk specifics on what links Wehunt to the fire. But residents told investigators Wehunt was at the building earlier in the morning and asked him to leave.
"A very innocent person involved in this thing was the victim of what appears to be a homicide," says Christol.
"I want to see some physical proof. If he done it, then he's where he needs to be, if he didn't do it, he needs to be let go," says Barra.
Wehunt is in jail on a $500,000 bond. A court appearance is scheduled for February 17th.