Hearing date set for arsonist

Hearing date set for arsonist
Hearing date set for arsonist | arsonist Robert Watrud

Robert Watrud

An accused arsonist will soon be taking the next step in the path through the Weakley County court system.

At his arraignment in the Weakley County Sheriff’s Department courtroom on Wednesday, Weakley County General Sessions Judge Tommy Moore gave Robert Watrud a preliminary hearing date of Feb. 23. 

Watrud is being charged with four counts of aggravated arson and one count of theft of property – $1,000 to $10,000. The arson charges are in connection with a Jan. 10 structure fire that occurred at a multi-plex unit that Watrud inhabited on 313 S. College St. 

Martin Fire Chief Russell Schwahn, MFD Lt. Todd Prince, Tennessee Bomb and Arson Special Inv. Ron Powers and Martin Police Department Inv. Tommy Erwin combined evidence found at the scene of the fire with evidence collected off the site and charged Watrud with intentionally starting the fire. The triplex also housed four other people including a 10-year-old child. 

The theft charge stems from Watrud’s reportedly taking a vehicle lent to him by a friend and failing to return it to its owner. He instead set fire to the apartment complex before attempting to make a getaway in the stolen vehicle and armed with a small-caliber handgun. Assistant Public Defender Colin Johnson will represent Watrud and his public hearing is set for 1 p.m. on Feb. 23.    

wcp 1/25/11

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