Admitted McClung Warehouses arsonist misses court date | News
(WBIR - KNOXVILLE) - A homeless man who admitted last year he set the fire that destroyed the remnants of the McClung warehouses on Jackson Avenue failed to show up for a court date Friday.
Robert E. Montgomery, 61, pleaded guilty in August to arson and aggravated assault. He was put on probation and was to report back to Knox County Criminal Court on Friday.
Co-defendant Joey Bryant, 34, who also had pleaded guilty to arson and aggravated assault last August, is being held in jail on a capias issued earlier this month for failure to appear in court, according to records. He's due in Criminal Court on Monday, according to records.
Bryant and Montgomery were charged with arson and aggravated assault a month after the massive fire gutted the historic buildings near downtown Knoxville in February 2014.
The cost of the fire was estimated at approximately $1.3 million dollars
The men, who were homeless, broke into one of the remaining two deserted warehouses and started the fire with a lighter. When it raged out of control, they fled the scene and worked to cover their tracks. They even intimidated a woman who was with them to keep quiet about what happened, according to prior court testimony, and Bryant hit her with his fist and threatened her with a knife.
The warehouses were demolished in the months after the fire, ending the city's hopes to have the structures renovated and used as the centerpiece of redevelopment in that area.
The latest massive fire happened nearly seven years after another fire devastated the property.