Meet Basil Eleby, 39. Elerby is the man accused of setting the fire that destroyed part of Interstate 85 last Thursday evening.
News reports are saying that the homeless man and 2 other friends were spotted below the bridge on the day of the fire.
According to court documents, Eleby was allegedly heard talking about ‘smoking crack’ cocaine just moments before it became engulfed with flames.
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Eleby, 39 made his first appearance in a courtroom on Saturday morning, where he was formally charged with first-degree arson in connection with the fire.
Wearing a navy jumpsuit, flip-flops and handcuffs, Eleby reluctantly shuffled into a courtroom at the Fulton County jail for his first appearance hearing, where Judge James Altman announced the arson charge, which coincidentally was added on top of an earlier felony charge of criminal damage to property.
Bond was set at $200,000 and Judge Altman said that he had considered an amount more “commensurate” with the damage inflicted.
Two other people, Sophia Bruner and Barry Thomas, have been charged with criminal trespass in connection with the case.
Eleby reportedly told officers that he encountered the two other defendants beneath the bridge and “discussed smoking crack cocaine” but in the end decided “he would consume the drugs by himself” and “left the area before the fire started,” according to a criminal warrant presented to the magistrate court.
In the same warrant, obtained by the Journal-Constitution, officials said Thomas told them he saw Eleby place a chair on top of a shopping cart, reach under the shopping cart and ignite it.
For the record, the DA would not discuss how the fire was started or why, saying those details would be released as the investigation progresses.
I don’t know about you, but blaming a homeless man for this huge traffic disaster seems a bit convenient. I’ve heard several conspiracy theories surrounding the Atlanta fire disaster, and while I’ve yet to come to my own conclusion, this homeless dude seems to be an easy scapegoat.