Florida man mad at sister tried to burn house down with her inside, deputies say

Torrance Hawkins held on $100K bond on arson, attempted murder charges

COCOA, Fla. – He smiled and he smirked. Torrance Hawkins seemed pretty relaxed during his first appearance before a judge Wednesday at the Brevard County Jail, considering the 39-year-old might spend the rest of his life in prison.

The Kennedy Circle resident tried killing his sister by setting the house in which they live together on fire, according to the Brevard County Sheriff's Office.

"You're charged with arson, in the first degree, and attempted first-degree felony murder," Judge Michelle Naberhaus said to Hawkins.

The sheriff's office said Hawkins was mad at his sister because she called authorities Tuesday and reported that he had a gun.

Hawkins has a record going back to 2010 of charges of being a convicted felon in possession of a weapon.

Deputies said on Tuesday, Hawkins set a chair in the living room on fire with lighter fluid.

His sister escaped outside and a neighbor came over with a fire extinguisher, putting out the flames before first responders arrived.

Another neighbor, Cleo Woods, said he saw Hawkins at the house after the fire began.

Woods said Hawkins' behavior has become worse since he and his sister's mother passed away.

On Wednesday, Judge Naberhaus set Hawkins' bond at $100,000 under conditions he's not allowed to return home or have any contact with his sister.

Hawkins next court date is his arraignment scheduled for July 31.

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