UPDATED: Police investigate suspected arson at murder suspect's Covington home

James Bryant was arrested in connection with a weekend stabbing death in Covington

January 07, 2012

COVINGTON, Va. — Update: 1/10/12, 11:55 p.m.:

    Covington firefighters are investigating a fire that started at the home of a man recently arrested for murder.
    The Covington Fire Department along with the Covington Police Department responded to a structure fire at a home in the 300 block of East Walnut Street Tuesday evening, at about 8:00pm. That is the home of James Bryant, the man arrested in connection with Saturday's stabbing death of Steven Seams. Bryant is currently being held at the Alleghany Regional Jail.
    Fire investigators say no one was inside Bryant's residence at the time the fire began. But, they say that the cause of the fire is suspicious in nature, and is currently under investigation.
    A detective from the Virginia State Police has been asked to assist in the investigation.
    The Covington Police Department asks anyone who may have seen any unusual activity in the area of Bryant's home prior to the fire is asked to call Detective Sergeant Kenneth Duncan at 965-6332, or contact him by e-mail at



Update: 1/9/12, 2:00 p.m.:

The charge of malicious wounding against James Bryant has been amended to First Degree Murder. He was originally charged with malicious wounding after an altercation with Steven Seams on January 7.

Seams was injured in the altercation and taken to LewisGale Hospital-Alleghany. He was then flown to Roanoke Memorial Hospital where he died Saturday afternoon.

Update: 1/8/12, 5:45 p.m.:

Covington police have confirmed to News 7 that the victim of Saturday's stabbing has died.

He has been identified as Steven Anthony Seams, 32, of Covington.

James Bryant could face additional charges now that Seams has died.


A man was found with a stab wound lying in an alley behind the 300 block of Walnut Street in Covington around 2:00 a.m. Saturday.

The victim was taken to Lewis Gale Hospital Allegheny and then later taken by Lifeguard 10 to Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

One individual was arrested and charged with malicious wounding, which is a felony.

The man arrested was James P. Bryant, a 42-year-old who lives on Walnut Street in Covington.

Officers from the Covington Police Department and Alleghany Sheriff's Office both responded to the scene.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Sergeant Kenneth Duncan at 965-6332 or the Emergency Dispatch Center at 965-6333.

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