Old Man Arrested for Arson After Setting His Apartment Complex on Fire



On December 21, 2021, at 8:50 a.m., officers with the Las Cruces Police Department responded to 765 Williams Street to assist the Las Cruces Fire Department with a raging residential blaze.
On arrival, officers were told that a "90-year-old man" lived in the apartment where the fire started, and it was unclear whether the man had made it out. Shortly thereafter, one of the property managers for the apartment complex arrived on scene and informed officers that the resident — Byron Anthony Hicks — was fine, and that he was standing outside watching the activity.
Watch the video to see what happened next.
Mr. Hicks was ultimately taken into protective custody and transported to a local area hospital, where a nurse made contact with Mr. Hicks' wife — "who wanted nothing to with him." A hospital psychiatric evaluation concluded that Mr. Hicks's delusions were the result of substance abuse rather than the result of another mental illness, and Mr. Hicks was arrested and charged with arson.
On February 11, 2022, all charges against Mr. Hicks in the Las Cruces Magistrate Court were dismissed without prejudice, however Doña Ana County District Attorney's office spokesperson Roxanne Garcia-McElmell informed Real World Police that Mr. Hicks is the subject of an active grand jury investigation. If the grand jury finds probable cause that Mr. Hicks committed one or more crimes, he will face prosecution in New Mexico District Court, a higher court than the magistrate court where Mr. Hicks was initially charged.