A man accused of trying to burn down an Augusta apartment building was entitled to bond Wednesday, but that didn’t mean the judge had to make it easy.
Considering his lengthy criminal history and the potential danger to the community, Judge Sheryl B. Jolly said she wouldn’t have set bond except that it had to be granted because more than 90 days passed between William Gorham’s arrest and his indictment. She set bond at $250,000.
To make that bond, Gorham needs to pledge property with $250,000 in equity, pay a bondsman 12 percent of $250,000, or post $250,000 in cash.
Gorham, 64, faces six counts of first-degree arson. He has pleaded not guilty in Richmond County Superior Court.
Gorham is accused of setting a fire outside the Skinner Mill Road apartment door where his stepson was living on Sept. 27. His stepson was forced to jump from a window to escape the apartment, said Assistant District Attorney Hank Syms. The fire also endangered the others in the apartment building.
Gorham was arrested in North Carolina the day after the fire. Officers found a mostly empty gas can inside his vehicle, Syms said.
Gorham’s felony criminal history extends back to 1974 when he was convicted of a drug offense in Minnesota. His history includes convictions for theft, assault, aggravated robbery, fraud, burglary, drugs, forgery, breaking into vehicles, and violation of a domestic violence order of protection Syms said.
Syms opposed bond, he told the judge, until defense attorney Alexia Davis pointed out that more than 90 days had passed between Gorham’s arrest and his indictment on Jan. 9. Gorham, a veteran, had been working at Plant Vogtle for 13 months before his arrest, Davis said.
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