A South Carolina man is behind bars after deputies say he admitted to setting his family's home on fire to cover up that he brutally killed his mother's three dogs.
Marc-Anthony Rickson Cantrell was arrested May 11, after Aiken County Sheriff's deputies responded to a structure fire.
After getting the blaze under control after 9 p.m., members of the volunteer fire department discovered three dead dogs inside the residence that had suffered fatal injuries not caused by the fire, the sheriff's department said in an incident report.
Members of fire department also "observed a heavy odor of gasoline inside the residence," according to the incident report.
A deputy then learned that Cantrell's grandmother called law enforcement and told them that Cantrell told her he set the fire, the sheriff's office reported.
When deputies arrived at the grandmother's home, the investigation took a turn when the 20-year-old Jackson resident confessed to multiple crimes, the sheriff's department said.
Cantrell confessed, multiple times, that "he killed the dogs and burned the house," according to the sheriff's department.
According to the sheriff's department, Cantrell explained that he had blacked out after injecting amphetamine. When he regained consciousness, Cantrell told sheriff's deputies that he had an ax in his hand and "saw that he had killed the dogs."
As his confession continued, Cantrell said he started the house fire "to try and cover up the fact that he killed the dogs, because he had killed his family's dogs in the past," according to the incident report.
Cantrell was charged with ill treatment of animals in general, torture when he was arrested on Nov. 27, 2016, according to the sheriff's department. Cantrell spent a little more than a week in jail when he was arrested on that charge.
Cantrell confirmed the fire department's suspicions about the cause of the fire, saying he used gas that he found in the home's garage, lighting paper towels with a candle to help spread flames, the sheriff's office reported.
After Cantrell was arrested and taken to the Aiken County Detention Center, sheriff's investigators returned to his family's home, where they made gruesome discoveries.
Sheriff's deputies found a small brown and white dog "with a laceration to its neck hanging from a drawer pull next to the front door," according to the incident report.
The investigation also led deputies to a small brown dog "with a laceration to its neck and tied to a shelf," in the laundry room, where they also found a large black dog on the floor "with an arrow in the back of its head," according to the incident report.
Investigators also discovered remnants of the paper towels, candle and gas can used to ignite the fire, the sheriff's office reported.
Cantrell was charged with second-degree arson, and three counts of ill treatment of animals in general, torture, according to jail records. He remains behind bars at the Aiken County Detention Center.