Man accused of beating, setting homeless man on fire in Tenn.

Justin Blankenbaker (Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A man was charged with criminal homicide Friday after reportedly confessing to beating and murdering a homeless man in east Nashville.

According to police, Justin Blankenbaker, 31, allegedly beat Horace Horton with a cinder block before setting him on fire at a homeless camp near Shelby Park.

Horace Horton (Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department)

Authorities responded to reports of an explosion Monday in a heavily wooded area of Davidson Street around 6:30 p.m.

Upon their arrival, authorities discovered Horton’s body on fire. A second fire, with a small propane tank in the center, was found near Horton’s body.

Blankenbaker lived in the same homeless camp as Horton and and the two fought before Horton was murdered, police said in a release.

The preliminary autopsy revealed that blunt force trauma was a significant factor in Horton’s death.

Blankenbaker is now being held in the Metro Jail on $250,000 bond.

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