A Clermont arsonist who set fire to a grocery store garbage bin while out on bond on two other arson charges was sentenced to three years in prison this week.
Chad Whelchel McDonald, 29, was found guilty by a Hall County Superior Court jury of two counts of second-degree arson related to the burning of two storage buildings at homes on Mountain View Road, District Attorney Lee Darragh said.
The fires near where McDonald lived were intentionally set using materials inside the storage buildings in May 2006. No one was hurt in the fires.
In April 2008, while McDonald was awaiting trial, he set fire to garbage in a Dumpster outside a Publix Supermarket on Spout Springs Road in Flowery Branch.
According to court documents, several witnesses watched McDonald set fire to the contents of the trash bin with a cigarette lighter, and he remained on the scene until firefighters arrived.
McDonald pleaded guilty to third-degree arson charges in that case.
Judge Bonnie Chessher Oliver sentenced McDonald to eight years, with three years to serve in prison and the remainder on probation.
He was ordered to undergo drug, alcohol and mental health evaluations as a condition of his probation and pay an as-yet undetermined amount of restitution.