According to reports out of Douglas County, Christopher Hedgecock, a 35-year-old man, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on three counts of arson and one count of insurance fraud.
Hedgecock was convicted of these crimes following a 2014 incident where he set fire to his business, Town and Country Fabrics & Upholstery. He schemed with one of his employees, who pleaded guilty to arson for the same case last year. After 20 years in prison, Hedgecock will spend another 10 years on probation and pay $10,000 in restitution.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I will outline the offense of arson in the state of Georgia. There are three different degrees of arson according to Georgia Law. In this case, the defendant was charged and convicted of second degree arson, which I will cover below.
Second Degree Arson in Georgia
Second Degree Arson in Georgia is defined by law in O.C.G.A. §16-7-61 as:
A person commits the offense of arson in the second degree as to any building, vehicle, railroad car, watercraft, aircraft, or other structure, when, in the commission of a felony or not, by means of fire or explosive, he or she knowingly damages or knowingly causes, aids, abets, advises, encourages, hires, counsels, or procures another to damage any building, vehicle, railroad car, watercraft, aircraft, or other structure of another without his or her consent or in which another has a security interest, including but not limited to a mortgage, lien, or a conveyance to secure debt, without the consent of both.
Second degree arson is classified as a felony. If convicted of second degree arson, a person is facing up to 10 years in prison as well as a fine of no more than $25,000.
The difference between first and second degree arson is that first degree arson refers to the damage of a building or structure used as a dwelling caused by fire or explosive. Third degree arson refers to the same kind of damage but to personal property valued at $25 or more.
Unlike the case above, an arrest is not the same as a conviction. Just because someone has been accused of committing the offense of arson in Georgia does not mean that he or she is guilty of committing that offense.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for the commission of a crime in the state of Georgia, contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney now. There are plenty of Georgia Criminal Defenses that can apply to your case depending on the individual circumstances.