Two Benton County women were arrested on Thursday, June 23, for arson and other charges regarding the 2019 destruction of the home belonging to Dr. Kenneth and Neisha Berry, located at 1875 Douglas Dr. in Holladay, Tennessee. The arrests followed indictments of the two women handed down by a Benton Grand Jury on Wednesday, June 22.
Candace Lea Wright, 38, was charged with arson, vandalism up to $250,000, theft of property up to $10,000, aggravated burglary, and possession of schedule VI with intent to deliver. She was arrested on Thursday afternoon and booked into the Benton County Jail with bail set at $75,000.
Sharon Rene’ Collins, 34, was charged with arson, vandalism up to $250,000, theft of property up to $10,000, and aggravated burglary. She was arrested on Thursday morning and booked into the Benton County Jail with bail set at $25,000.
Benton County Jail records indicate that each defendant was released on bond within one hour of their arrest. Any related court dates have not yet been made public.
The offenses with which Wright and Collins were charged occurred on the evening of Oct. 2, 2019. Around 8:30 p.m. that evening, Chalk Level and Holladay McIllwain Fire Volunteer Departments responded to a fire at the Berry home in Holladay. According to Chalk Level Fire Chief Richard Kee at the time of the fire, the home was already fully engulfed when firefighters arrived, and the house was a total loss.
Firefighters continued to battle the blaze until 1 a.m. on Oct. 3, 2019 and remained on the scene into the day. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents and State Fire Marshal’s Office officials arrived in the early morning to begin their investigation. The house reportedly was vacant at the time of the fire.
The Berry house fire happened nearly seven months after The Berry Clinic located on the Camden Court Square burned on March 25, 2019. The massive clinic fire not only decimated the clinic, it also damaged adjoining buildings on the square. Investigators were unable to identify the exact cause of the fire, and ultimately the Department of Commerce and Insurance stated in a report dated Aug. 28, 2019 that the official cause of the clinic fire was “undetermined.”