Ex-fiancee of former BPD officer testifies in arson trial

Former Birmingham police officer Curtis Thornton's ex-fiancee Bobby Mayfield shown on the witness stand during Thornton's arson trial. (

The word "pyromaniac" won't be uttered again during the arson trial of a former Birmingham police officer. That's because Curtis Thornton has never been diagnosed with the mental illness. However, Thornton's ex-fiancee and a Warrior detective say his behavior in 2012 made them nervous and scared.

Former Birmingham police officer Curtis Thornton moved into now ex-fiancee Bobby Mayfield's Warrior house on Dana Road September 2011. That's when Mayfield said fires often unreported starting happening around their house and Thornton became "secretive" and started drinking.

On April 11, 2012, a mop was ignited and caught the next door neighbor's house on fire. Then on April 19, there was a vacant mobile home another door down, which burned the home to the ground; and May 1, someone attempted to ignite Thornton and Mayfield's own house using Thrifty Nickel papers.

Mayfield claims those papers came from inside their home.

Warrior Police Detective George Billit responded to every fire. He testified that Thornton was always home during the fires and claimed to be the first to see them. But Billit said it was "not possible" for Thornton to see the fires from his house and Thornton even made him "nervous" because he always had a gun and smelled like alcohol.

Billit says Thornton initially claimed a neighbor started the fire at his house. But the detective says that man was cleared. That's when Thornton became the prime suspect.

Mayfield was contacted by investigators. That's when she told them about three unreported fires behind their house. Mayfield also said Thornton even admitted to the mobile home fire.

When the now ex-fiancee noticed the Ensley fires taking place in Thornton's coverage area while he was on duty,{} she said she asked him about them. She testified, "he said him and a couple of buddies would start fires in vacant houses because of vagrants."

Mayfield said he would use couches, curtains, anything left in the vacant houses.

The defense questioned Mayfield about changing her story between two police interviews and her knowledge of Thornton possibly cheating. She said the story changes were because Thornton revealed more information between those meetings.

Thornton is charged with four counts arson, attempted arson and criminal mischief. Two arson charges and the attempted arson charge stem from the Warrior fires.{}

Testimony continues Tuesday.