Bond set at $1M for Hattiesburg man charged with arson

Published 10:26 pm Saturday, July 7, 2007

Bond has been set at $1 million for a Hattiesburg man charged with four counts of arson, but Charles Collier won’t get out of jail anytime soon.

Hattiesburg Municipal Judge Vanessa Jones said Friday that Collier, 25, will stay in jail for allegedly violating the terms of his probation.

Collier was on probation for previous arson and grand larceny charges, according to court records. He still has 8-1/2 years of suspended prison time from those charges.

Prosecutors said Collier was living in Petal in 2004 when he was arrested for a series of incidents that included setting fire to a house and stealing a portable radio from the Petal Fire Department. Collier told Jones that he had served 15 months of a 10-year prison sentence on those charges.

Collier is now charged with four counts of arson, two of which relate to two separate passenger vans that were burned during the same June 14 incident at Mount Carmel Baptist Church. He also is charged setting fire to another bus at the church on June 21 and a vacant building on June 29.

Jones set the bond at $250,000 on each count.

Authorities have not charged Collier with a May 29 fire that destroyed the old Hattiesburg High School, according to a www.hattiesburgamerican.com article.