The Gordon County Sheriff’s Office initiated an investigation into an incident wherein a “molotov cocktail” – type incendiary device was lobbed at a church in the Pine Chapel community.
The device was composed of flammable liquid in a plastic bottle and the building sustained only minimal damage.
On August 26th, a second incident, which detectives ascertained was linked to the one three days earlier, occurred on Covington Bridge Road wherein a plastic bottle of flammable liquid was used to damage a farm tractor. The device created a grass fire which was extinguished by a passerby, but the tractor sustained no damage.
Detectives assigned to the case collected physical evidence, and began canvassing for witnesses. On October 1st, another “molotov cocktail” – type device was hurled at a church in the Oakman community. This device failed to ignite the building, but created a fire in the parking lot which burned itself out.
On Friday, October 13th, another incendiary device was used to ignite a wooded area on Wesley Chapel Road within a short distance of another church. This act was observed by a local man, who also extinguished the fire. Detectives had a potential suspect “on their radar” , and had developed leads via means of covert electronic surveillance.
On Monday, October 16, Cody Dexter Blankenship, age 34, of Hummingbird Lane, Calhoun, was arrested without incident by deputies and detectives as he left his employer. He was taken to the Sheriff’s Office and questioned by Sheriff’s detectives and officials from the State Fire Marshals Office, who assisted in this case. Blankenship confessed to having committed all of the related offenses in four separate incidents. He has been charged with: Arson, Attempted Arson, Vandalizing Places of Worship, Possession of Incendiary Devices, and Burning Woodlands. He is being held in jail pending bond proceedings. Blankenship was arrested by the Sheriff’s Office on March 25, 2021, in connection with a series of incidents wherein nails were scattered about several local church parking lots. He subsequently pled guilty to related charges in Superior Court