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Woman arrested in deadly Riverdale motel fire

Woman arrested in deadly Riverdale motel fire

A 45-year-old woman has been arrested and charged with arson and five murders, in connection with a Riverdale motel fire in June.

Riverdale Police received a warrant for the arrest of Sheree Dionne Murphy, also known as "Queen," at about 3:30 p.m., Friday. Three hours later, Murphy was located when she answered her cell phone, according to John Oxendine, Georgia Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner.

Officials could not say, Friday, how Murphy was connected to the June 7 fire at the 709 King Road, Budget Inn, but Oxendine said she has been the main suspect since July.

"We were suspicious of her very early in the case," Oxendine said. "But being suspicious, of course, is not enough to get a conviction. We wanted to make sure we had a strong case."

Murphy is being charged with one count of first-degree arson, five counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault and one count of simple battery. Investigators believe the fire, the worst in the city's history, was intentionally set, but do not believe Murphy meant to kill anyone. Oxendine would not speculate on a motive.

The fire started near a pile of mattresses, behind the motel, and killed three adults and two children: Shakita Jones, 32; her children Devon Butler, 11, and Desha Butler, 10; her fiancé, Fred Colston, Jr., 26, and her uncle, Melvin Jones, 43.

- Daniel Silliman and Curt Yeomans