Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 12:45 pm
News Flash Archive
The fire that destroyed Lee Abraham's service station across from MVSU at Itta Bena, MS on August 12, 2013 was found to be arson, and Michael St. David Williams, the business' owner, has been arrested and indicted by federal authorities and is scheduled to stand trial on November 3rd in Oxford for the crimes.
Strangely, the entire case has been kept quiet with little or no media coverage since the initial report of the fire.
Mr. Williams' cohort, Siam Green, cooperated with the government and fully confessed to the details of the arson. Mr. Green, a citizen of Jamaica who had overstayed his visa, was not charged, and after providing a video deposition detailing the crime, has gone back to Jamaica and will not be in the country to testify.
The premises are owned by Lee Abraham, but they had been leased out to various persons who operated the gas station business. Mr. Williams had purchased the stock and equipment from Mr. Hardeep Kandola in April 2013, but according to Kandola, all the checks that Williams wrote to him were returned marked "insufficient funds" by the bank, and he never received any money for the business.
One day after the fire, deputy state fire marshal Albert Carver and the insurance company's investigators had determined the fire was deliberately set. They were joined the same day by ATF agent Jeffrey Osburg.
The ATF agent investigating the blaze began to be suspicious of Mr. Williams when he told Osburg that he and Green had left the store late night on August 11 to drive to Atlanta Georgia to pick up "certain drinks unique to Atlanta, GA", but that they had headed west on Highway 82 instead of toward Atlanta. When asked why, Mr. Williams told the ATF investigator that he was going to try a different route. He claimed that he had returned to the store to find it in flames soon after midnight August 12th after he realized that he had forgotten his wallet.
According to the ATF investigation, Mr. Williams' business was in distress, with very little stock on the shelves, and owing over $10,000 to the gas wholesaler at the time of the fire.
Mr. Green was arrested by authorities on September 12, whereupon he gave a full confession of the arson plot and its aftermath.
The ATF agent's affidavit for probable cause was filed on September 25, 2013, and may be viewed here: ATF Agent Affidavit
A two count indictment against Mr. Williams was filed on October 31, 2013. The indictment may be viewed here: Williams Indictment
According to the indictment, Williams insured the store on July 26th, 2013 with State Farm Fire and Casualty, and immediately began plotting with Mr. Green to burn down the store. Mr. Williams and Mr. Green did so in the early morning hours of August 12, 2013, according to the indictment and Mr. Green's testimony.
Mr. Williams was arrested sometime after that and released on a $2000 bond on November 26, 2013. According to court records, Mr. Williams has been residing near Atlanta Georgia since that time. The bond may be viewed here: Williams Bond papers
According to the federal court docket (4:13-CR-169-M-V in the Northern District Federal Court of Mississippi), the trial has been continued three times. but is now finally set to commence November 3rd, 2014 in Oxford.
John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel
News Flash Archive