Defendant Pleads Guilty to Burning Down Spinning Mill Building
COLUMBUS, GA - Frederick Bryant, age 51, also known as Michael Coultes, entered a plea of guilty to the offense of Arson on May 20, 2010 before the Honorable Clay D. Land, United States District Judge for the Middle District of Georgia.
Under 18 U.S.C. § 844(i), Bryant is subject to a minimum sentence of five (5) years imprisonment up to a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment, a possible maximum fine of $250,000.00, three (3) years of supervised release as well as a $100.00 mandatory assessment.
On October 23, 2005, units from the Columbus Fire Department were summoned to the Cartersville Spinning Mill located at 1250 29th Street, Columbus, Georgia. The mill was engulfed in flames and despite heroic efforts of the Fire Department, the entire structure was destroyed.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Arson National Response Team responded to the scene and processed the scene from Oct. 25-27, 2005.
An examination of the remains of the structure revealed that cause of the fire was incendiary. Investigators attributed the cause of the fire to be the result of "human action."
In the fall of 2007, ATF agents were contacted by an investigator with the Columbus Fire Department (CFD). A new witness had come forth and provided new information concerning who was responsible for the fire.
ATF Agents and CFD Fire Investigators identified Frederick W. Bryant also known as Michael Coultes as a suspect. According to information presented to the Court, Bryant admitted to breaking into the Cartersville Mill and setting the fire.
Bryant had previously broken into the mill to steal copper wire but had almost been caught by a tenant at the mill. The fire had been set to "burn out" the tenant and facilitate the continued theft of the copper wire.