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Charges dropped against man accused of paying arsonist
Man accused of setting fire pleaded guilty
0506ARSON.Alan Kilgore
Alan Kilgore

Prosecutors have opted not to go forward with a case against a Gainesville man who was accused of paying an arsonist to torch a Buford motorcycle business.

In February 2008, authorities charged 43-year-old Phillip Hall, who they say paid 55-year-old Alan Lloyd Kilgore $1,000 to burn the Professional V Twin in order to collect insurance money.

The Jan. 10, 2008, fire at the McEver Road business caused an estimated $500,000 in damage.

District Attorney Lee Darragh said Wednesday that prosecutors would ask a judge to dismiss the felony charges against Hall.

Darragh said there was “a lack of sufficient corroboration of the evidence available for the state to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

If new evidence came to light, the case against Hall would be re-evaluated, the district attorney said.

Efforts to reach Hall and his attorney Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Hall County Fire Marshal Scott Cagle, whose office investigated the case, said Wednesday he was disappointed but understood the position of the district attorney’s office.

“It’s not an outcome we wanted,” Cagle said. “We did a lot of work on it. But no case is airtight.”

Meanwhile, Kilgore began serving a one-year state prison sentence this week for his role in the arson.

Kilgore pleaded guilty to arson in a negotiated plea agreement and was sentenced to 15 years by Hall County Superior Court Judge Bonnie Chessher Oliver, with the first year to be served in the Hall County Correctional Institution and the remainder on probation, Darragh said Wednesday.

Kilgore poured kerosene and gasoline throughout the store, fire officials said. A gas heater ignited the fumes in a sudden flash, leaving Kilgore with second- and third-degree burns over 40 percent of his body, fire officials said.

In spite of his severe burns, Kilgore drove home the night of the fire and went to bed. He was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center the next day. He was later transferred to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he spent nearly a month recovering in a burn ward.

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