Winston County Man Pleads Guilty To Arson At Poultry Company Office
TUSCALOOSA – A Northwest Alabama man pleaded guilty Wednesday to arson for a December fire at a Marshall Durbin office building in Haleyville, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey L. Fulton.
CHARLES WILLIAM HEAVNER JR., 43, of Hackleburg, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler to one count of maliciously damaging the Marshall Durbin Field Operations Office with fire on Dec. 4. Heavner is scheduled for sentencing Aug. 14.
He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
According to Heavner's plea agreement with the government, the arson unfolded as follows:
Marshal Durban had not provided baby chicks for Heavner to raise because of maintenance problems with the chicken housing facilities on his farm. Heavner was angry about that decision on the morning of Dec. 4 and had threatened physical violence against the company's broiler manager, Joe Bolding. Bolding called an employee at the operations office, warned her of Heavner's threats and told her to lock the office door. As she did so, she saw Heavner pull into the parking lot, take an orange five-gallon bucket and a walking cane from his truck and approach the building with liquid sloshing out of the bucket. She told him he couldn't come in, but after she locked the door he tried to kick it in.
Employees outside the office building were called to help and arrived to find the front of the building on fire. They used fire extinguishers to put out the flames. The orange bucket was recovered in the back of a company truck parked near the building and Heavner's cane and a cigarette lighter were found beside the building. Traces of gasoline were discovered in the bucket.
Heavner fled and was later arrested in Oklahoma.
The ATF, Alabama State Fire Marshal, U.S. Marshals Service, and the Winston County Sheriff's Office investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael W. Whisonant Sr. is prosecuting the case.