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FBI aids investigation of arson attack on Carroll County gay man

The FBI is helping to investigate a fire at the home of a gay Carroll County man to determine if the suspected arson is a hate crime.

If federal prosecutors decide the alleged attack on Christopher Staples fits the criteria, it would likely be the first case in Georgia charged under the new Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, according to Atlanta FBI spokesperson Stephen Emmett.

"The FBI is in a supportive role in this investigation, but the investigation itself remains with Carroll County authorities," Emmett told the GA Voice. 

Asked what specifically the FBI is doing in the case, "I won't elaborate other than initial crime scene assessment and any additional lab submittals that Carroll County deems necessary — those types of matters," Emmett said.