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Macon – A 37-year-old Macon man was sentenced to five years, three of them in prison, on Wednesday after jurors found him guilty of criminal damage to property stemming from a Dec. 31, 2015 apartment fire.

Joel Tremaine Williams testified he used lighter fluid to set fire to clothes in a hamper inside an upstairs closet in the Gray Highway apartment he’d shared with his girlfriend.

Prosecutors Pamela White-Colbert and Kyle Owenby presented evidence during a two-day trial in Bibb County Superior Court showing:

Williams and his girlfriend ended their long-term relationship. In response, Williams bought lighter fluid and alcoholic beverages at a convenience store. He sent his girlfriend a photo of the lighter fluid. Later, he sent her a photo of the fire he set in their unit at Highland Hills apartments.

Williams contended he set the fire as a means of ending his life, but then called 911 for help. Despite living in the apartment for two years, he gave a dispatcher the wrong unit number.

Williams left the apartment and watched outside as firefighters arrived. Fire crews extinguished the fire before it spread to the entire apartment or other units.

Speaking after the sentencing, Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney David Cooke said, “Mr. Williams deliberately set a fire that put the lives and property of other residents at risk. We hope he will spend the next three years behind bars thinking about his choices.”

For more news from the District Attorney’s Office, follow on Twitter @DA_DavidCooke, on Facebook at and on Instagram at da_davidcooke.


Contact: Amy Leigh Womack

[email protected]

478-621-6179 (office)

478-319-2529 (cell)