Former Owner of Bridges, Billiards & Grill Sentenced to 60 Months for Arson
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Ajmal A. Aman, 29, of Herndon, Va., was sentenced today to 60 months in prison for intentionally setting fire to Bridges, Billiards & Grill, a bar located in Fairfax City, Virginia. In addition Aman was ordered to pay $766,358.32 in restitution for the damage caused to the victims of the fire.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Rich Marianos, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division; and David Rohr, Fire Chief for the City of Fairfax, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge T. S. Ellis III.
On Oct. 27, 2010, Aman was convicted by a federal jury following six days of trial testimony and exhibits. According to court records and evidence adduced at trial, Aman is one of six owners of Bridges Billiards and Grill and served as the company’s treasurer. Aman was the manager on duty Halloween night in 2009 when the bar held a party until 2:00 a.m. the following morning. Later that morning, the property caught on fire, and investigators determined that it was arson. Evidence at trial showed that ignitable liquids, including gasoline and charcoal lighter fluid were found in numerous locations throughout the restaurant. Gasoline was specifically found in high concentrations at the fire’s primary area of origin, a small office at the back of the business where the business’s financial documents and accounting records were kept. In the office, investigators found a full book of matches and the bottom half of a water bottle that contained gasoline.
The court records and evidence at trial demonstrated that Aman was the last person on scene the night of the fire, and that gasoline was found on the clothes he wore that night. Aman was suspected of abusing his position as treasurer by misappropriating money from the business for personal travel and repayment of debts. The evidence at trial showed that this, along with competition from rival bars may have been the motives behind the arson.
This case was investigated by the ATF, Fairfax City Fire Department, Fairfax City Police Department, and the Fairfax County Fire Marshal’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys G. Zachary Terwilliger and Timothy D. Belevetz prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.