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05/19/2016

Charges Against Cedar Bluff Man Upgraded to Capital Murder

The death of the victim of an arson in connection with a residential fire, which occurred on Friday, May 13, 2016, has led to charges of attempted murder being upgraded.  Aaron Rochester, 50, of Cedar Bluff is now charged with capital murder in addition to first degree arson.

Rochester shared the Cedar Bluff residence with the victim, 50 year-old Donna Marable.  Evidence indicates that a brief argument took place, before Rochester assaulted Marable.  It is believed the suspect set fire to the house with the victim inside, then fled the scene.   Cherokee EMS transported Marable to the Cedar Bluff football field, where she was airlifted to Grady Medical Center’s burn unit in Atlanta. 

Officers from the Cherokee County Major Crimes Unit, State Fire Marshal’s Office, Cedar Bluff Police, and the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, searched for Rochester throughout the weekend.  Investigators located him on Sunday, May 15, and he was taken into custody.  Marable succumbed to the injuries on Wednesday, May 18, at the hospital.  Rochester remains in the Cherokee County Detention Center on a $250,000 cash bond for the arson charge and awaits a bond hearing on the new capital murder charge. 

The investigation is being led by the Cherokee County Major Crimes Unit with the assistance of the State Fire Marshal’s Office, and the JSU Center for Applied Forensics.

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