COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – A Columbus man has been charged with murder in connection to a deadly house fire that happened in March 2022. According to police, Richard Jernigan, Jr. is now facing the charge of murder in addition to the arson charge filed against him back in March.
The charges against Jernigan stem from an investigation into the death of Valburn Almonord earlier this year.
According to officials with the Columbus Police Department, Almonord’s body was discovered by firefighters after they extinguished a fire at a house in the 1600 block of 14th Avenue on March 4, 2022.
Jernigan was arrested and charged with arson on the day the fire happened.
Police said Almonord’s body was sent to the GBI’s crime lab to undergo an autopsy. The recently released results of the autopsy revealed that Almonord “died from inhaling toxic fumes from the fire.”
Following the results of the autopsy, the additional charge of murder was filed against Jernigan.
A warrant was served to Jernigan on Oct. 11, 2022, at the Muscogee County Jail, where he is being held on the previous arson charge.
Jernigan is scheduled to appear in Recorder’s Court on Oct. 13, 2022, at 8:00 a.m.