By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Alpharetta man indicted for attempted arson of occupied north Forsyth home
Benjamin Spruell

NORTH FORSYTH — A Forsyth County grand jury has indicted an Alpharetta man after he reportedly attempted to set fire to a north Forsyth home while two people were inside it.

Benjamin Allan Spruell, 47, faces nine charges — including arson, terroristic threats and damage to property — in connection with the Nov. 20 incident in the extreme north end of the county.

The three counts of terroristic threats stemmed from Spruell supposedly threatening to burn the residence and to kill the two people inside the home “with the purpose of terrorizing” them, according to a Forsyth County Superior Court bill of indictment.

At the time, a neighbor reported he heard Spruell yell he was “going to kill everyone in the house and burn it down.”

Spruell reportedly knows the people he is accused of targeting. However, due to the violent nature of the incident, their names and connection to Spruell are being withheld.

The suspect does not live at the home involved in the incident, fire officials said at the time.

According to a sheriff’s report, Spruell arrived at the home intoxicated with a beer in each hand and five lighters in his pocket. He proceeded to go inside, beat a mean and drag him through the kitchen.

One count of criminal attempt to commit arson in the first degree was filed because Spruell supposedly lit “wood and paper inside of the residence … acts which constitute a substantial step toward the commission of said crime.”

He was also charged with battery and three counts of criminal damage to property in the second degree for reportedly striking the homeowner and damaging windows, the kitchen door and the window of a vehicle in the driveway.

Once both of the home’s occupants locked themselves in separate rooms, the neighbor stated in the incident report he saw Spruell “breaking windows and screaming.”

Spruell supposedly then found a “propane tank from under the grill that was sitting on the back porch and threw it through the back glass door” before lighting “several things on fire” and throwing them inside.

When deputies arrived and convinced the occupants they were safe to come out, the kitchen and living room were both filled with smoke.

A ninth charge was filed for theft of services because Spruell reportedly failed to pay for a taxi he took to the home from an Alpharetta fast-food eatery.

In addition, the taxi driver told deputies he saw Spruell urinate into the gas tank of a vehicle in the driveway.